Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year, and I've decided to help spread the word about buying handmade and from small businesses this season. I've been tweeting a few shops, but those are easily missed, so I'm going to collect them all in this blog post and update as I share more. These are all companies I've either purchased from and/or know the owner well, so I will personally vouch for any of these suggestions. If you'd like to add your own in the comments, feel free, but I won't back any I don't know. (The "owner" I list under each is to the best of my knowledge. I apologize if I leave out any co-owners/spouses I'm not aware of.)

Small businesses are good for the economy, and handmade items are often very eco-friendly. I believe in shopping with these businesses as much as possible, for the good of all.

With that said, here we go! (In no particular order.)


Tuesday's Dreams
Owner: Marti Dickinson
Sells: Handmade fabric plushies, some tie-dyed clothing, and her mom's handmade quilts.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TuesdaysDreams
My fave: Amelia the Neon Rainbow Striped Whale


Is Mightier
Owner: Heather McFarlane
Sells: Handmade jewelry with vintage fountain pen nibs.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/IsMightier
My fave: Purple and Green Chainmaille Fountain Pen Nib Necklace


Street Spirit Photo
Owner: Fraser McFarlane
Sells: Unique photographs taken in Scotland and the USA.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/streetspiritphoto
My fave: Kaleidoscope Sunset


Luxury Lane Soap
Owner: Kylee Lane
Sells: Geeky and vegan/eco-friendly soaps, lotions, lip balms, and hair care.
Website: http://www.luxurylanesoap.com/
My fave: Hemp Satin Body Cream in Pumpkin Cheesecake


Moody and Sanguine
Owners: Denise LeBlanc and Melina Knox
Sells: Handmade chainmaille jewelry and hand-sewn accessories
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/moodyandsanguine
My fave: Swinging from the Chandelier Earrings (Side note, I'm featured in the photos for this item! Side side note, I own at least a dozen of her earrings.)


Geeky and Cheeky
Owner: Jessica MacLean
Sells: Handmade felt dolls and toys featuring geeky characters and themes along with some Pagan items.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/geekyandcheeky
My fave: The Crew of Serenity 


Little Free Radical
Owner: Crystal Evans-Pradhan
Sells: Handmade cloth toys, tutus, nursery and party decor.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleFreeRadical
My fave: Spring Rainbow Classic Tutu


Owner: Amy Davis Roth
Sells: Handmade ceramic necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and coasters featuring geek and atheist themes.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/surly
My fave: Camera Ceramic Necklace in Brown and Red (I own the blue and green version of this, and six other Surly necklaces.)


Owners: Len Peralta and Jessica Mills
Sells: Custom made comics starring YOU.
Website: https://peraltartsy.myshopify.com/collections/ucomics-the-comic-starring-you


Geek Soap
Owner: Lesley Karpiuk
Sells: Handmade geeky soap.
Website: http://www.geeksoap.net/
My fave: D20 Soap on a Rope


Waldo's Wood Works
Owner: Bob Benaim
Sells: Handmade wooden toys and accessories.
Website: http://www.waldoswoodworks.com/
My fave: Unicorn Puzzle


Spiffing Jewelry
Owner: Annie Nygard
Sells: Hand stamped metal geeky jewelry.
Website: http://www.spiffingjewelry.com/
My fave: Girl on Fire Necklace


Sparkle J
Owner: Joelle Burdette
Sells: Hand-knitted Jayne hats and hand-sewn lunch bags and other accessories.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sparklej
My fave: Jayne's Cunning Hat


Creations by VR
Owner: Vanessa Reynolds
Sells: Original geeky paintings.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/gamrgrl
My fave: Think


Dragon Chow Dice Bags
Owner: Lyndsay Peters
Sells: Unique cloth dice bags.
Website: http://www.dragonchow.com/zencart/
My fave: Red Kanji Dice Bag (I want this one next; I own 2 bags and have bought at least 3 for gifts!)


88 Links
Owner: Lady Steel
Sells: Upper arm bracelets, earrings, rings, and other jewelry.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/88links
My fave: Wishing Star Gold Earrings


Introverted Painting
Owner: Sabrina Zbasnik
Sells: Gorgeous paintings of trees, the sky, and geeky themes.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/blablover5
My fave: Four Seasons


Sweet Threes Boutique
Owner: Lindsay Meuse
Sells: Holiday, wedding, and baby cards with unique textures.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetThreesBoutique
My fave: Christmas Cards


Geek-A-Bye Baby
Owner: Elizabeth Nelson (Not related to me...as far as I know!)
Sells: Unique handmade geeky baby toys, clothing, and nursery decor.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/geekabyebaby
My fave: Jayne Hat Bib


I'll just post my own businesses at the bottom here. ;)

Owner: Sarah Nelson

Celestial Designs
Sells: Geeky and Pagan jewelry.
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CelestialAxis

CelestialAxis Photography
Sells: Landscape photography from around New England.
Website: http://celestialaxis.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Fine-Art-Landscape-Photography/21981921_NbLBFz#!i=1753347621&k=JpLKxhR


More to come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marian Call Adventure Quest

Background on this post: http://www.mariancalladventurequest.com/adventuresome-questy-task-12/

I do love that shiny song "Dear Mr. Darcy." Reminds me of a doctor I know, and that confusin' awkward dance we've been dancin'. I'm tired of waitin', and it's goin' on a year since I had something twixt my nethers twerent' run on batteries. Boy needs to see what's right under his nose!


1. "Least Complicated" - Indigo Girls
2. "Eight Easy Steps" - Alanis Morissette
3. "C'est La Vie" - B*Witched
4. "As Cool As I Am" - Dar Williams
5. "100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" - Marian Call


I wait for my doc
To kiss me with such sweetness
In the engine room

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Had an odd dream the other night that seemed like it might be meaningful. I asked Twitter for feedback and my friend Cosmic_Psycho obliged. Just thought I'd share the dream and interpretation and see if anyone had something to add.

Hubby and I were riding in little motorized boats in the ocean near a beach. We'd drive them forward, only to have the waves push us back to shore. We were enjoying ourselves but were worried because we kept landing near people and didn't want to hurt them. We tried to move further down the beach so our antics in the waves didn't injure someone, but the sea wall was closer to the ocean further down so there was no beach to land on and we'd hit the wall.

J's interpretation:
From what I can tell, your dream is symbolizing your worry that you aren't able to enjoy time with your hubby without others interfering or "getting in the way". Also, you worry that taking time to enjoy yourself may result in others being hurt, most likely mentally or emotionally rather than physically. The part with the sea wall says to me that you put serious limits on how much you can do. And this is not necessarily intentional or even a conscious action.

He came up with a lot I never would have considered. It's definitely hard to interpret your own dreams objectively. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with this?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fat is not a 4-letter word

Something I've been working on for a while is body acceptance. I'm fat, dieting (literally) makes me crazy, and I'm perfectly healthy. I even have recent lab results to prove it. It's been a battle, but I'm finally at a place where I pretty much accept myself the way I am, even LOVE myself. I've found a wonderful community of body-positive people online, and the articles and stories they share slowly pull my self-esteem from the murky depths it was inhabiting.

I recently read a post called "Things Obesity is Not." One point that really hit home is "Obesity is not a metaphor." I'd like to add "Obesity is not an insult." How many times have you called someone (to their face or behind their back) fat, or various iterations of the word, when they don't agree with you? Have you heard others do it? It's pretty common, if you think about it. I may have even done it myself, in the past. "Fat idiot," "lard ass," etc. are all based on someone's actual or perceived weight. How is that any different from the N word, "gay," "fag," etc. being used as an insult? Those will get you in trouble. Those will get people angry at you. But call someone a fat jerk and no one bats an eye.

Today on HRC's Facebook page, they were discussing Larry Wachowski's transgender transition into Lana. Apparently someone made an ignorant comment about her being an "it," which understandably caused some anger. What I don't agree with is this person's response (click to view fully):

I haven't gone back to the conversation, as I'm sure it would only anger me more.

I just don't understand. Someone who used to be obese, and presumably used to be another gender, thinks it's okay to use someone's weight as an insult? This person has probably been bullied and prejudiced themselves (pardon my lack of pronoun, I don't want to assume this person's gender). Why do we do that? Why do the bullied become the bullies?

I'm very disappointed in this person. They "like" the Human Rights Campaign, yet can't afford the same dignity to fat people that they do to LGBT people? Fat isn't an insult. It's a physical characteristic, just like eye color, height, hair texture, etc. I'm fat. I'm totally okay with that. What I'm not okay with is someone thinking that's an appropriate way to insult me if we disagree. My weight does not affect my intellect. I steadily gained weight throughout college (and beyond), yet graduated Cum Laude, and I have an above-average IQ. There are stupid thin people and smart fat people and vice versa and everything in between.

If you've gleaned anything from reading this, I only hope that going forward, you try to be more conscious of the language you use. I can't ask you to never insult someone again; we all get angry. However, think about the words you're using. If you wouldn't insult someone based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation, don't insult someone based on their body size. It only makes YOU look like the ignorant one.

Also? "Skinny bitch" is mean too. ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

An open letter to JC Penney

Dear JC Penney,

Thank you.

Thank you for being one of a few companies in this day and age to step up and show REAL families in your ads. In particular, gay families, which so many other companies seem deathly afraid of. Thank you for showing them lovingly and realistically, without plastic perfection or forced happiness. Thank you for not making a big deal about it, even when others did.

You see, my sister is gay, and she's engaged. We're planning her June 2013 beach wedding. I am going to suggest to her that we purchase as much wedding clothing from JC Penney as we can. I have outfits picked out that go with their theme, but you know how brides can be. I can only suggest.

Stephanie has a six-year-old son that my sister Kaitlyn will be the step-mother of, and they plan on having at least one more child together. They will be a family, just like any other American family. Thank you for representing them. In thanks, I will give you as much of my business as I can, and recommend you to others (I was already a happy customer of yours before this ad).

Thank you for holding your ground in the face of angry bigots. You are truly a caring a company.

Sarah Nelson

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The incredible eBay jerk debacle

There are much stronger words I want to use to describe this jerk but I will be using this blog post to report him to various companies so I should probably keep it clean. Therefore he is a JERK.

In October of last year, an MJ Defrancesco ordered a dice necklace from me on Etsy. The week after, he ordered another one. Cool, repeat customer! The he ordered another. Then he ordered one and had it sent to someone else. Ooo, he's giving them as gifts! He must really like them. I was very happy. He continued ordering them, having them sent to himself or various other people in various countries, all the way through this month.

Unrelated, I was browsing eBay for Firefly and Serenity stuff because I'm obsessed, and found someone selling the Blue Sun Travel posters. Ooo, shiny. I'd only seen them on eBay and this seller appeared to have the best price, so I bought them, thinking "Less than $40 for all 5 posters? Great deal!"

The next day, I'm in my PayPal account printing a shipping label for someone who made a purchase from me, when I notice a payment to MJ Defrancesco, a name I know well. I was confused for a moment then realized I had bought those posters from HIM! What a funny coincidence! I was pleased our various geeky internet selling ventures had come full circle. I even emailed him to say how funny it was.

Then I thought, what other fun geeky stuff might he be selling? Let's find out! He has an entire store full of fun geeky things. How neat.

Then my heart dropped. Then the rage started.

Right there in his eBay store was my dice necklace. I could tell it was mine because HE WAS USING MY PHOTOS. MY photos, that I painstakingly took after cataloging all my dice and arranged the necklaces and options so nicely and used my nice camera and edited the photos in Photoshop. MY WORK. The photos have since been removed from the listing and I didn't think to screen shot it, so unfortunately I have no proof. I hope you will trust me.

This means all those dice necklaces I thought he was sending to friends WERE BEING SENT TO HIS CUSTOMERS. Notice anything else funny? Oh yeah, A TEN DOLLAR MARK-UP. To say I was livid would be the understatement of the century. I was a veritable She-Hulk of rage.

I immediately sent him this message, after I had just messaged him saying how funny it was that we bought from each other:


I then called eBay to report him. While I was on the phone with a very nice but bewildered Indian lady, he removed the photos and I received this message from him:

"...hope all is well sarah -
...posters have been shipped -
...will add tracking -
...photos removed as requested -
very truly yours -

I concluded on the phone with eBay, who would "investigate further." Right. I responded angrily to him:

"Did you really think it was okay to resell my necklaces and use my images without permission? Did you really think it was okay to have me do YOUR job and send the necklaces to YOUR customers? I thought they were GIFTS. I thought you were just a good customer. I am NEVER selling to you again, you lying worthless jerk. I can't BELIEVE you did this to me."

To which he maddeningly responded thus:

"...thank-you for gifting the world with your creations -
...this item has ended -"

What the EVERLIVING FRAK??? He was just making me MORE ANGRY. So I responded, a little more calmly:

"I appreciate that you are trying to apologize, but I don't think you're getting why I'm upset. You USED me. If you had only ASKED me first, we could have worked together on this. Ask permission and give credit. It should be pretty common sense. Instead you used my product and images without permission or credit. I put a lot of work into cataloging, photographing, editing, and listing my products. All you did was use the work I did. That's not fair to me at all. I hope, if anything, you can at least understand that."

He promptly sent:

"...as a sincere apology for this unprofessional (d*ck) action a full-refund has been issued -
...please accept your item free-of-charge -"

I was slightly mollified at this point. $40 worth of free posters was kind of cool. I didn't respond. I was completely worn out from my rage and just wanted it over with. Which I thought it was. Until today.

The UPS man comes to the door and hands me a package from ThinkGeek. "Huh," I think to myself, "but I've already gotten the order I placed with ThinkGeek." I open it to find...the Blue Sun Travel posters I ordered from MJ Defrancesco. Which you will see, if you follow that link, were EIGHTEEN FRIGGING DOLLARS FROM THINKGEEK. Not $40. Not even close.

He did the EXACT SAME THING HE DID TO ME...to ThinkGeek. He sold an item in his store, ordered it from the merchant, and had it delivered directly to his eBay customer. Of course I immediately looked it up on ThinkGeek. And found the dramatically lower price. And flipped out again.

I love ThinkGeek. They are one of my all-time favorite stores. If I had realized they sell those posters, I would have bought them from them in a heartbeat. Stupidly, I thought his $40 price was good. Luckily he refunded me for his "d*ck behavior" so I haven't wasted any money on them, but WHAT THE FRAK?

Further delving led me to find Ian Leino's Serenity Sake t-shirt in his shop (which I own, and bought directly from Ian Leino, THE ARTIST) today, so I notified Ian that he's probably doing the same thing to him. No artist credit in his eBay listing, big surprise. Gods forbid the customer figures it out and buys directly from the artist.

Amazingly, MJ has decent feedback, and none of his negative feedback seems to indicate anyone else has caught on to his game. Don't worry, I'll be adding my own. I also reported him to Etsy, trying to get him banned as a customer in case he was doing it to anyone else, but they sent a typical non-answer:

"Thank you for reaching out to us. We are so sorry to hear about this. Intellectual property concerns are a legal matter which Etsy takes very seriously.

If you believe that another member or item on Etsy is using your photos, you may choose to respectfully contact the other person via Etsy Conversations with your concerns. This page from our Help site provides information about using the Conversations feature on Etsy to contact another member: http://help.etsy.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/71/

For concerns about other types of infringement, we must follow specific protocol when handling these complaints. Etsy has a detailed policy regarding how to report infringement, and if we receive proper notice per the policy, we may remove listings from a shop."

Since he was not infringing on my rights with an ETSY listing, there is nothing they can do. Whatever. Thanks for nothing.

Here's my packing slip from ThinkGeek:

I don't know how his other eBay customers haven't smelled something fishy when their package "from him" arrives directly from another vendor. I doubt he has a single item in his store actually in his home. I can't prove that, but it appears to be his selling method to use photos from someone's store, create a listing for the item at considerable mark-up, then order from the original vendor and ship it to his customer when the customer orders from him. It feels like that's probably what they teach you in those sleazy "Get Rich on eBay" seminars.

The worst part is, he's probably just skating on the edge of legality. I'm not 100% sure we can get him on anything but the copied photos. But what he's doing makes me SICK. Sure, the original vendor/artist gets paid, but MJ makes a profit for doing NOTHING. It's just exploitation. It's DISGUSTING.

So, if you're a vendor affected by this and want to do something, I can supply all of MJ's contact information. If you're a friend and are as outraged as I am, leave a comment to make me feel better. This whole debacle has been a ridiculous roller coaster of rage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Food shaming

I saw this on Facebook today:


This isn't a cute reminder to eat your veggies. It's food shaming and fat shaming and it's WRONG.

This sort of crap is why people have eating disorders. This sort of crap is why fat people sometimes eat in private so they won't be judged. This is why some fat people are ASSUMED to eat the crap on the bottom of the photo even when they're eating the lawn trimmings at the the top.

I argued my case briefly in a comment under the photo. Obviously no one agreed with me. This sort of black or white, this or that attitude about food is BS and it's making me sick to my stomach. YES salads are generally better for you, but photos like this skew the reality of health. "Good" and "bad" food labeling is harmful, judgmental, and just plain wrong.

How DARE you judge a fat person and make the assumption that all they consume is fast food. How DARE you suggest that I'll be happy and thin if I'd only eat salads and water because it's just that simple? It's taken me YEARS to come to love my body the way it is. Yes, I'm trying to be healthier, but I'm HAPPY JUST THE WAY I AM.

So take your shaming and your polarized thinking and kiss my beautiful fat ass.

Monday, March 19, 2012

This is why I hike

This is why I hike
The sounds of civilization fall away as if dying in the distance
Feeble murmurs of the world I leave behind
Trail blazes mark my way so I'm never truly lost
Tethering me to the reality I escape from
Tiny animals scurry beside me
Never seen, only heard
I hide with them
I exercise a body too often sedentary
I still a mind too often in motion
I balance my being
I center my soul
I leave behind the concrete and the gas
I divorce myself from the noise and the hurt
And when I am filled to the brim with stillness
I come home to my love
And my life is complete

Monday, February 27, 2012

The trials of loving oneself

I'm still very proud of my post about finally accepting and loving myself. Most of the time I can keep that attitude up. Then, days like today happen, and it crumbles all around me.

I take a belly dance class, which has been fun and exercise and socialization all in one, even if I'm usually the youngest in the class by about 30 years.  ;)  I majored in theater and dance in college, so picking up the movements wasn't too difficult. I get complimented by my teacher and classmates constantly on my grace and grasp of the moves. I feel good about it.

I've done two performances with my class so far, where I was one of five and in a full-coverage costume (when your teacher is in her 70s, there are no sequined bras, thank goodness!). It was an awesome time.

We have another performance coming up in March and my teacher asked me to do a solo, mainly because I had been talking about a song I'd been wanting to choreograph to. Awesome! A solo. Good times.

March is fast approaching so I decided to get serious about choreographing it instead of just having a few ideas in my head. I set up my webcam (after wrestling to get the mic working for about an hour) so I could video myself doing some improv dance to the song, and remember later what worked and what didn't.

So I worked on it. I replayed the video. And I nearly cried. I looked so fat and awkward and ridiculous. I could barely stand to watch. It's one thing to look at yourself in a mirror and be okay with what you see. It's a completely different experience to watch yourself in 360 degrees as others see you. It was horrible. It made me want to quit belly dance on the spot.

Every cool move I'd imagined in my head looked awful when I actually did it. It was a disaster. I know it was just improv, but I feel completely incapable of looking even remotely graceful. I was absolutely disgusted.

I know it will pass. I know I'll feel better when wearing a costume that covers my arms, and I've had some time and distance from this experience. But I won't forget how I looked. I can't come to terms with how godawful it was. Why has everyone been lying to me? Why did they let me look like that? I feel completely betrayed.

These are the days when loving your body is fucking HARD.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sexism in Gaming

Oh my. You ladies are gonna LOVE this one. Especially my fellow geek ladies. Brace yourselves. This is a doozy.

Behold, an email from Gamestop that was sent (not to me) with the subject line: "Send her flowers so you can game!"

(Click to enlarge)

Yes men, that's right. Don't worry about your pesky girlfriend keeping you from gaming on Valentine's Day. Just shut her up with pretty flowers and game away! Because you obviously have to choose one or the other. You can't have both. Silly men!


I don't even know where to start. The misogyny is ASTOUNDING.

I already hate GameStop. Amazon has much better prices. So boycotting them is a start, but it doesn't change much for me. I can't even begin to think of a proper way of punishing them for this drivel.

When I was single for the first time in 6 years, I wasn't sure where to start. I don't do bars or clubs. I didn't have a way to meet new guys. So, I turned to online dating. I wasn't ready to pay for a site yet, nor could I really afford it, so one of the sites I used was Craig's List.  I posted the following personal ad:

Hello! I'm a positive, confident, outgoing Wiccan woman. My religion is important to me, but I don't need to date another Pagan necessarily. I'm 4'11", curvy, long brown hair and brown eyes. I love singing, reading, computer games (WoW, D2, AOE, etc.), nature, animals (especially cats, rodents, and reptiles), and lots of other random stuff. I'm very easy-going and down to Earth. I'm looking for a guy with some similar interests, a good sense of humor, around age 25-35. I'd like a LTR eventually. So drop me a line, and a pic if you have one, just cuz I'm curious. =)

One of the responses (among the dozens of truly horrid ones) was my now-husband Simon. He was intrigued by our shared interest in gaming. After a few dates, the first time I came over his house was to play WoW together. We even had WoW-dates from our own homes where we chatted on Vent while playing. I guess you could say our relationship is based on gaming. TOGETHER.

There has never been a time where he's need to bribe me to "let" him game. I even went to a LAN party with him and was the only girl there. I had a BLAST. I may seem unusual. I may seem like a dying breed. I AM NOT.

If you visit my Twitter and see some of the ladies I follow, you'll find a WHOLE LOT of women gamers. We exist. We are normal. And we're AWESOME. So guys? Ask us to game WITH you. Don't bribe us, don't sneak off, don't exclude us. We're here, and we LOVE to game.

GameStop? Seriously, STFU. That email was so full of fail I can't even properly express my rage. Sexism FTL.


I sent the following email to GameStop:

I would like to complain about a recent email sent to Gamestop customers (presumably just your male ones) with the subject line "Send her flowers so you can game!"

This is the most sexist, misogynistic, and misguided email I have ever seen. It purports a number of fallacies:

1. Girls don't game.
2. Girls don't like it when their boyfriends game.
3. Girls have to be bribed to LET their boyfriends game.

Is that really a message you want to be sending? You do realize that almost half of gamers are female, right? Obviously you had no idea.

So on Valentine's Day, instead of spending ONE DAY with your significant other, you need to bribe her to "let" you play a game. Men aren't allowed to game WITH women? Men can't take a day off from gaming? Men need to ask PERMISSION to game? I'm not sure what kinds of relationships your advertising department has had, but they can't have been healthy.

My husband and I started dating because we both love to game. We are now married and continue to game together. There are also women who watch sports, drink beer, and do all kinds of "manly" things you think we aren't interested in.

Neither my husband nor I, nor many of our friends, will ever be shopping at your store again. You obviously don't appreciate your female customers, or even acknowledge that you have any. I am disgusted.

Sarah Nelson

P.S. - Feel free to read more of my rant in my blog, which is making its way around the internet so everyone knows how sexist your company is.


Friday, January 27, 2012


We all hate spam. I'm not talking about the meat product (some of you may like it, who knows), but that sneaky email demon we love to hate. It's bad enough when it comes from random vendors. It's far worse when it comes from people you know.

If you have my email address and the only thing I ever receive from you is commercial in nature, you're doing it wrong. If you want to tell me about some new website, or something you're selling, AND we're friends on Twitter and Facebook? DO IT THERE. I get enough crap in my email. If you share it on Twitter and Facebook, I can just keep going if I'm not interested. And if you know me, you know I'm on both sites constantly. Trust me, I'll see it.

Unless we are VERY good friends (not, like, we met once and got along and exchanged contact info), NEVER assume I want to be invited to, signed up for, or subscribed to ANY website, blog, sale, etc. Not your Avon, not your Scentsy, none of it. If you're not sure, send me a quick tweet first. Or even an email! I'd much rather reply to your email and say "No thanks" than have to unsubscribe from some mailing list that I can't guarantee hasn't already sold my email address.

I have a lot of people's email addresses. I have a few businesses I run. I even have every email address of everyone who's ever purchased something from me. I will NEVER email them a sale, site, or anything because it's intrusive. We're at a point in society where we get SO MANY emails every day. All it does is piss people off, unless they themselves signed up to receive updates and such. I will NEVER assume someone wants email from me. If I have your email address, I will use it to communicate a friendly message or send information you requested. THAT'S. IT.

This is basic Internet etiquette, people. Remember when those chain emails were all the rage and your inbox was flooded with "OMG FORWARD THIS TO 5 ZILLION PEOPLE OR YOU WILL GET A BLOODY NOSE IN FRONT OF YOUR CRUSH"? Yeah, those sucked. Most people have realized how very annoying they are and have stopped. This is the next wave. I know we're ALL selling something online these days, or you entered a contest and you get more entries if you email the contest to your 100 closest friends, or you REALLY think I need to know about the latest cancer risk (PLEASE check Snopes.com first!). I know you mean well.

But please. STOP.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Body Shame

This post is the result of YEARS of suffering, not any one recent event. Just in case someone gets it in their head that they sparked this...you didn't. Don't worry. :)

I was always small. I stopped growing at age 12, topping out at 4'11". At my senior prom, I weighed 95 lbs. and wore a size 3. I was TINY.

Believe it or not, I had body issues even then. My little pooch of a tummy shamed me. I focused on my big nose, overbite, braces, acne...you name it, I was ashamed of it. I was almost never single. I certainly was attractive to SOMEONE. But I hated myself.

Fast forward through six years of college. I put on 60 lbs. The cafeteria offerings were atrocious. I didn't party; I can count on one hand the number of times I actually got drunk in college. With age and food choices, the weight started adding on. I was horrified. I'd go to the gym for a few weeks, then get tired of it. It was easier just to get fat. Looking back, I think I looked better in college than high school.

A month after I graduated college, my mom died. I packed on another 20 lbs. seemingly overnight. My boyfriend of 4 years moved in with me. We were poor and lazy and ate horribly. My weight fluctuated constantly. I finally broke up with him after years of emotional abuse, and moved on.

I met Simon. :)

We moved in together after 8 months of dating. We went out to eat a lot. He was on Jenny Craig and I joined it too, until I decided I'd rather cook and save us the money. $800 a month for Jenny food for two! Crazy! But once again, the weight crept on as life got busy. Simon proposed to me when I was at my heaviest: 200 lbs. (Unrelated, just pointing out that he loves me no matter what size I am).

We were engaged for a year and a half, and for the first few months, I planned on losing weight for the wedding...later. Suddenly it was 2010 and we were getting married in 10 months! I freaked. I worked my butt off and lost 30 lbs. in 6 months. I slowly lost another 5, then gained it back, then 5 more as the stress of planning a wedding got to me. At one point, I was told by a relative that my gown would look perfect if I "just dropped 5-10 more lbs." She meant well, she meant to encourage me, but I got pissed. I got married at 175 lbs. I hated myself for it at the time, but I know now that I looked beautiful.

After the wedding and honeymoon, we eventually tried to get back into eating right and exercising. I mentally rebelled every step of the way. 2011 was a constant struggle. I finally started seeing a therapist about my self-esteem issues. I went back to counting calories and tracking exercise, then gave up. All it did was depress me. Toward the end of the year, I stopped tracking, stopped weighing in. I've gained a bit back. I'm probably not back up to 200 lbs., but I really don't want to know.

You may have seen this picture circulating the internet:

At first, I was righteously proud of it. Yeah! Real women have curves! Embrace your body! But then I think about my skinny best friend who never could gain weight. The one who got stretch marks just from passing 100 lbs. She's beautiful too! We all are! We're all "real" women. Who's to say the skinny ones are "fake"? No one! No one has the right to judge us!

Then I saw this:

THIS struck a chord. THIS is the message I was looking for. THIS makes me proud.

My Twitter friend Danya jumped on this. She understands my struggle. She understands body shame. And she's sick to DEATH of it. I helped her create this logo:

She put it on t-shirts. We're spreading a message, a truth, a BATTLE CRY.

We REFUSE to be ashamed.
We REFUSE to conform to some arbitrary body standard.
We REFUSE to accept judgement from others.
We REFUSE to be told we're not healthy.

Health at any size. HAPPINESS at any size.

From now on, I will eat when I'm hungry. I will try to eat healthful foods. I will eat "unhealthy" foods sometimes. Because I FEEL LIKE IT. I will exercise when I can and when it's enjoyable. I will be ACTIVE, not just for the sake of burning calories. I will buy clothes that fit NOW, not ones I want to fit into "later." I will wear what I want. I will be happy with ME. NOW. Not later. NOW.

Please also read about the body shaming of children in Georgia, and visit Marilyn Wann's Tumblr of images combating the body shaming campaign.

It starts young. It cuts deep. It's so very hard to let go of.


I'm pretty sick with a bad cold right now, so I may not have come across the way I wanted to. Let me add a few things.

If you want to lose weight, that's your right. If you want to be healthier, more active, stronger, faster, etc., then AWESOME. I wish I had the strength you do. I wish I could count calories or track my weight without falling into depression. I admire you.

This was about my personal journey to acceptance. I want to be happy where I am. If you're going to be happier losing weight, then do it! All I want to say is to do it for YOU, not society. That's all. We're all beautiful. You're beautiful now, you're beautiful pregnant, you're beautiful when you lose 50 lbs. I am NOT against weight loss or being healthy.

All I want is for you to love yourself.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My sister is getting married

My sister is getting married!

She's 24 years old and works as a brain injury unit nurse in a rehabilitation hospital. She met her fiance through a singles meet-up group and they've been dating for almost a year.

Her fiance is 35, divorced, and has a 6-year-old son that's mildly autistic. He's a super sweet kid who adores my sister.

My sister's fiance works for the USDA and just got a promotion to move to an office closer to my sister so they can move in together.

They are blissfully in love and it's a joy to see them together. I could not approve more of how happy my sister's fiance makes her.

Her fiance proposed on a beach and presented her with a custom engagement ring with their birthstones. They're getting married on a beach in June of 2013. I will be my sister's matron of honor.

My sister is gay and her fiance is a woman. Would you have known if I hadn't said it? Is their love really any different from a straight couple's?




End this madness. Support gay marriage. It's as simple as that.

Luckily, they can get married here in MA or in NY where my sister lives right now. They could get married in four other states than those two. In the other 44, they could not.

Please visit and "Like" Straight People for Gay Marriage and Straight People for Gay Marriage Massachusetts on Facebook. Thank you.