Saturday, November 1, 2014

Woman Walking

So, I saw this article today:

And it is about the responses to the video below:

Its about a woman who secretly tapes 10 hours of herself walking down a NYC street, silently; she is normally dressed and made-up.  And she experiences over 100 incidents of catcalls, whistles, and other forms of harassment including one uncomfortably close walking buddy for at least five minutes.

Apparently, Hollaback, the organization that produced the video has reported a slew of rape threats and other violent threats posted in response to this video.  While it is clear that this is hitting a nerve in NYC as Hollaback concluded, it makes the reality of our rape culture all the more clear to me.

This reminded me of an incident I experienced walking my dog a few mornings ago, in my oversized sweats, greasy hair pulled back in a pony tail and with some seriously bad morning breath.  (I can say, that it really bothers me that I feel compelled to start this story with what I'm wearing?)  I am accustomed to people complimenting my dog.  He is really, super adorable.

See??  Pretty Puppy!

He's part Corgi, has short little legs, a spunky personality, and always looks like he's smiling.  I'm cool with pretty much anyone complimenting my dog.  Seriously, I know he's adorable, but I love hearing it!

But what I don't love is when men use my adorable Puppy-dog as a way to hit on me.  Its just not cool.  I love my dog, and getting a happy response from me when you compliment him does not, in any way, demonstrate interest in you, Mr. Random-Dude.

So back to the other morning, I pass Mr. Random as we are walking in opposite directions.  And Mr. Random compliments Puppy.  But he says, "Cute dog" in that way I've learned is a segue into chatting me up.  So, I politely say, "Thank you," and keep walking.  I turn the corner, Puppy stops to sniff something, and low and behold, Mr. Random has doubled-back, turned the corner, and headed straight toward me.  I am more than a little uncomfortable, so I call him on it, politely.  I ask, "How are you this morning?"  I hope that my hot-mess of morning breath will deter any other thoughts he might have.  We have an awkward exchange regarding the state of our mornings, and Mr. Random introduces himself and shakes my hand before he high-tails it away from me.  I make sure there's some distance between us before I duck into my building, safe behind a locked security door.

The reality is that Mr. Random really might have been burning time since he was early to work (the sidewalk behind my apartment building is a main thoroughfare for people walking to the BART).  Maybe he decided to go to McDonald's, which is right across the street from the entrance to my apartment building.  I don't know, but as a woman, walking my dog with few other people in sight, I have to be on guard.  Mr. Random, and every other Mr. Random I have yet to encounter, its not personal.  My reality as a woman is that walking is simply not safe.  It is always a risk.

As the video that Shosana B. Roberts shows, and the vile responses to confirm, women are expected by society, to allow men to behave however they wish with the understanding that one of the most common first questions people in our society ask regarding a rape case is, "well, what was she wearing?"  Somehow women are expected to both protect our sexuality while also not telling aggressors that their behavior is inappropriate.  We must self-protect without causing offense.

Every woman experiences this reality.  Every. single. one.  NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, El Cerrito, SF, my small hometown of Valdosta, GA.  This happens all over our nation, and it must stop.

For more on this, check out Stop Street Harrassment at their website or on twitter.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Moustache Coffee Review October

I am not quite a coffee-snob, but I have very definite options about coffee.  Growing up, the smells of coffee were associated with waking up, mid-afternoon conversations, and decadent desserts!  I was bound to become inseparable from my own coffee cup.  In December, Hubby sealed the deal by getting me my own french press and hand burr grinder.  I'm in love, and the perfect morning begins with the churgling sounds of my electric tea kettle followed by the timer telling coffee is ready!

I tried Moustache Coffee via their 2 oz. free trial.  I'll admit that I wasn't thrilled at first, but the coffee grew on me.  Then came my August Bag.  I was done.  Totally addicted, and I'm never looking back.  I can only splurge on one bag of coffee a month from Moustache since they run $18.50/ bag.  So, I've been savoring October's bag all month, and trying to make it stretch.

Let me tell you about this month's roast.  Everyone has different ways of determining good coffee.  For me, I am most impressed with how much I like it cold, but I hate cold coffee.  Not iced coffee.  Cold, used to be hot, sat-out-too-long tepid coffee is one of the worst things to me.  Ugh.  

But let me tell you, this coffee I'll drink until the cup is empty no matter what temperature it is! Its smooth, with the perfect balance of acidity and chocolate.  That description card says "creamy body," and its no joke.

So, I say all of this to say that I am going to be loyal to Moustache Coffee for a long time.  Their customer service is great.  Their team has the best sense of humor.  Not to mention the story behind their company name is priceless!  If you enjoy coffee, this is one subscription box not to overlook!

If you want to check them out, I'd love it if you used my referral link so I can keep funding my coffee habit on a doctoral student budget.  But if not, you can also google them! :-)

+The Moustache Coffee Club

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SwaagBox October Unboxing and Review

I can't pass up a deal.  Its really hard.  $5 for a box of tampons, you say?  You'll even throw in jewelry, make-up, and other goodies, you say?  Oh Swaagbox, you've got my number.

So, this is the swaagbox I tried out this month.  I got it on their $5 deal.  The box of tampons alone costs about $6-7 at my local Target (because everything is expense in CA).  This normally runs $14/ month, which think is a little steep, but then again, I'm a little cheap.  I am a sucker for these subscription boxes on reduced cost or free trials though!

About SwaagBox according to their Website:

Each period cycle we send you necessary supplies as well as jewelry and makeup. Choose from name brand tampons and pads, tell us your skin type and fashion type and we will customize your jewelry and makeup to your wants.
Each month our personal shoppers find the best jewelry pieces and name brand makeup to match your needs, those items along with your tampons or pads of choice are then expertly packaged and shipped via USPS to your front door.
We also offer options to add to your box. Choose Venus razor blade refill cartridges and/or double the jewelry and makeup each month.

So, here we go:

The box was a plain, brown box, and there was no insert card; the items were slightly askew in the box.  I have come to enjoy the pizzaz of tissue paper and product cards that are part of other subscription boxes so this was a little disappointing.

Kotex U Tampons (18ct)
Swaagbox lets you choose from an assortment of pads/ tampons and brands, which is pretty nice!

Tootsie Rolls (not pictured)
Sorry readers, hubby got into the chocolates before this picture was taken.  But there were a small handful of chocolate goodies included in the box.

Hard Candy Make-Up
Little makeup surprises included dark grey eyeshadow and blue eyeliner.  The eyeshadow was pretty broken up, but I used this tip to fix it.  Now its as good as new!

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polishes
One in pink and one in light grey.  Nice products, but nothing terribly exciting.

Jewelry Item
This lovely pink breast-cancer awareness bracelet came in a lovely black velvet pouch.  Its a bit stiff, and it feels a bit cheap, but its really not bad.  Could be a nice accent bracelet on a casual day with friends.

Overall Assessment:
Much like my impression of BB5, this is a great box for $5, but not for $14.  There's nothing attractive about the packaging, the makeup and nail polish, while nice, aren't anything special.  Tootsie rolls might make Hubby happy, but for me, they simply don't count as chocolates.  I guess I have really high standards for the value to cost ratio for subscription boxes I decide to keep.  If you want to try out swaagbox yourself, $5 isn't a bad deal at all, and here's a link for that deal: 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beauty Box 5 August Unboxing and Review

So, recently I had someone ask me about my Beauty Box 5 (BB5) experience, and I realized that a post might be helpful.

Here's the low down on BB5 from their website:
We understand your beauty needs and your busy lifestyle. And we're here to help. Beauty Box 5 is a subscription-based, beauty sampling service that delivers 5 deluxe samples and full-sized products right to your door every month. It's a cosmetic jungle out there and we want to lend a helping hand by introducing you to new brands and great products, while sharing tips on the best ways to use them.  
So, here we go!

This is the BB5 I ordered in August as part of their half-price on a single box deal. I decided it wasn't really my thing for $12, so I cancelled after this reduced cost trial.  But, for half the cost, I was pretty happy with it.  Here's what I got:

Nanacoco Lip Gloss in Carmel Latte
I love the look of the product!  The packaging is nice, and it has a pleasant smell. Carmel Latte is a lovely nude gloss, which on trend right now.  The applicator sponge feels great on my lips.  But that's where my love for this item ends.  The gloss itself comes out way too thick.  I know, blend it right?  But its so sticky, that blending it is just unpleasant.

La Fresh travel-lite Facial Cleansing Wipes
Its a lovely travel size of facial cleansing wipes.  Perfect for throwing in a bag and heading to the gym or the airport.  Also great for those nights when you know you need to take off your make-up but you're just. so. tired.  They smell clean, like soap.  They work really well.  But, they're also nothing really special to me.

Pur~lisse Pur-Moist Moisturizer
I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for travel size face care items.  I blame my mother.  Definitely, all. her. fault that I love these little bottles.  But that obvious bias aside, this moisturizer is actually pretty nice!  Definitely won't be buying the full size bottle for $50.  But this is a little star.  Smell great, feels silky and light, and a little bit goes a very long way!

Nail Polish
Meh, this item is a nice light teal glitter that is perfect to layer over other nail colors.  I just won't be writing home to my mommy talking about how marvelous it is.  If you really want awesome nail colors, I personally recommend Julep.  There's also Square Hue or Cult Nails that seem solid.

Roux Anti-Aging Hair Serum Leave-in Treatment
Now, for me, this is the star of the show.  I don't usually use a lot of hair products, so I was really surprised by how much I like this item once I sampled it.  This is a full size bottle that normally retails for about $12 (which is the normal cost of BB5).  It really does deliver!  It gives me more volume near my roots, which is great for me.  It smells great, and I've noticed that my previously darkened natural highlights are peaking out again!

So, all-in-all, I have nothing bad to say about BB5.  I just didn't feel like it was really for me.  If you're interested, you can visit their website:  They're constantly running deals, so hit up google for the latest code!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Graduate Student Reflections on Love

So, the past three weeks, I've been crazily cramming for my general comprehensive exams.  So, two monstrous, four-hour closed book, tell us everything you know about Old Testament and then New Testament/ Intertestamental literature, exams.  Sure, I could have scheduled them later in the semester, but I needed them done.  DONE.  So, I planned my daddy's perfect birthday present, I would be done with these painful general comps.  

Somehow in planning what I needed, I forgot about my dear, sweet husband.  But Hubby stuck with me through the hours of me sitting at my desk studying . . . and sometimes me sitting at my desk trying to study and failing miserably . . . while I became less and less pleasant, compassionate, and able to help with anything around the apartment.  Then, he patiently quizzed me through all 35 of the outlines I had prepared to ensure that I was ready for those monstrous exams.

I have a very simple perspective on marriage: It is too damn hard to do it with the wrong person.

In fumbling over facebook today, I saw this article in a friend's post:

Then I got to thinking about the fact that love is a choice beyond our romantic relationships.

In the past few weeks I've come to realize in a whole new way that it takes a village to create a Ph.D.  There's no way that I could have made it through all of the stress, panic inducing self-doubt, and overwhelming anxiety without the people who have become my support-network.
While Hubby is the central hub for me, he can't be my only support.  It wouldn't be fair.  I have to find ways of recharging so that I can also love, support, and encourage him through his own mid-30s struggles.  My D&D group ensures that I have space to be silly, not think about smart things, and ensure that one night a week its just about being a normal person.  My Puppy promises me all the cuddles I can stand, especially when I'm stressed out; he makes me get up from my desk for daily walks, and sit on the couch for calming cuddles.  My Mommy is seriously on speed-dial for the pep talks, prayers, and reassurance that I'm not actually insane, I'm just a doctoral student.  Daddy & my Wanda have been my life-preserver so many times in so many ways that I have given up counting. When I am reminded of how so many people choose to love me, it blows me away.

Extending love is a choice.  Receiving love is another choice.  
Its not just in marriage.  Its in every relationship, every interaction.