What is this blog about?

Good question. Truth is, I don’t know. It’s now been a full year since I started this blog and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it ever since. By testing out different styles, mimicking other online magazines, and posting whatever seemed interesting, I’ve experimented to find what feels most natural. In the process, I’ve learned a few things.

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Keepers:

Anything and everything women’s issues related. I meant for this blog to be “for women, by woman,” but it kind of turned into a smorgasbord of lists and opinions relating to my life as a female person and feminist. And, you know, it feels pretty good. 2015 seems like a good year to bring feminism into the forefront of political and social discourse. Until women feel safe walking around their neighborhoods, have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, and aren’t treated like sexual objects without minds or feelings, I think I’ll keep talking about it.

Book reviews, obviously, because I’m the authority on all things literary. I kid. I’ll keep reading and writing about what I read because I feel like it, goddamnit.

Crafting disasters. I like to get crafty, but my projects rarely go as planned. Painted furniture and homemade candles look deceptively simple on Pinterest, so I’ll take the burden upon myself to fail miserably and share that with you all.

Losers:

Recipes and cocktail posts because it’s difficult to hide what they really are—fillers. Also, there are thousands of other blogs devoted to those things and doing a much better job of it. If you really need my recipe for chia pudding, read the back of the chia container. That’s where I found it.

Outfit posts. I’m not a fashion expert, and I’ve never claimed to be. I am a narcissist, though, so don’t hold me to this. If I find a way to bring back shoulder pads or construct a nature goddess gown out of pressed hydrangea leaves, I’ll have to share that with the world.

New Additions!

This past year, I started writing flash fiction for Ravishly, and I LOVE it. Condensing full stories to 300 words or less started as an exercise in honing in on the details and getting to the truth of a story quickly. It’s a genre I’ve grown to love, so I think I’ll post some flash nonfiction here.

I’m thinking fewer headline-grabbing confessionals, and more heart-to-hearts. There’s nothing more interesting to me than honest, personal stories that relate to some bigger theme. What I often see female-oriented magazines do, though, is reduce thoughtful essays to their most provocative caption. I’m willing to open up, reveal the unsightly sides if it might help one person, promote discussion, or allow me to gain insight. What I’m not willing to do is exaggerate my own experiences for the sake of likes and shares.

Videos! For all the sketches that can’t be performed live with my sketch group, #Blessed, I’d like to film them and post them here. Like this gem…

What do you think, dear reader? What would you like to see more of? I’m craving all shades of feedback—good and bad—so if you’ve got it, give it to me! Leave a comment below or on The Revolutionelle’s Facebook page, and I will adore you forever.

New Year’s Anti-Resolutions

The U.S. government has a handy list of common New Year’s resolutions. Some of them include “lose weight,” “manage stress,” and “quit smoking.” I, however, resolve to do none of those things, and not because I don’t need to. I could always manage my stress better and smoke less, although a hit of Alaskan Thunder Fuck tends to alleviate anxiety—so scratch that. I reject this bogus impulse to implement drastic change at a completely random time of the year, because we should strive to improve ourselves year-round. July’s a nice time to set goals, as are March and October.

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It makes sense why these are the most common resolutions, though—in America, anyway. Reeling from the holidays, which focus on eating until you’re numb, drinking yourself stupid, and buying mountains of shit nobody really needs, it’s not hard to see why most people are burnt out and feeling generally crummy come January. We set unachievable goals hoping to turn that all around, only to feel the motivation fizzle out by February. Something about seeing a pudgy groundhog paraded on a stage, exposed to the cold really drives it home, I think.

This year, I said to hell with all that before the holidays even started. I didn’t stuff myself with cookies or over pour the Chardonnay, though both were readily available. My family seemed perfectly happy receiving the bare minimum of gifts. I did spend an inordinate amount of time crafting these polaroid-style coaster things out of tiles and 4×6 photos, but now I know the wonder that is Mod Podge. Ultimately, I kept the stress turned down and still had a spontaneous weeping fit while washing dishes. Because that’s what managing stress is sometimes—just letting it out.

For me, my biggest challenge would be to set no goals, screw improving myself, to really just let it all hang out and see what happens. But because that’s no fun and everyone loves a good list, here’s a sampling of my Anti New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. Be kind to myself. This is a hard one. Whenever I set out to do something, like write a novel or sew some makeshift curtains, I focus on the imperfections. I zoom in on the problem areas so that all I see are what’s wrong with what I’m doing instead of what’s right—or fun, or funny, or whatever. I imagine many women feel this way. On top of pursuing (or rather figuring out) a career, maintaining a clean apartment, taking care of my dog child, being a good girlfriend, daughter, and sister, updating this blog, baking the perfect banana bread, and writing the next great American novel, I must also have perfect skin and a bangin’ bod. Because nothing you do matters if you’re not bangable. How about this year we fuck that noise. Beating yourself up with impossible expectations is so 2014.
  2. Make more mistakes. Has anyone else noticed that when everything goes according to plan, nothing really interesting happens? I’ve found that to be the case about 99% of the time (when things actually go according to plan, that is). Still, I worry about making the wrong decision, whether it’s my lunch order or where I’m going to live. It’s as though I’m walking through life afraid one misstep will be the fatal blow that ruins everything. In retrospect, choices that seemed like big, irreparable mistakes in the moment proved to be door-openers, blasting open room for new opportunities. I’ll try not to beat myself up, though, if I don’t make enough mistakes.
  3. Write an apocalyptic eco-feminist sci-fi novel. That’s the book I want to write, so literary mores be damned! If that initial idea warps into something else entirely, that’s okay, too. I promise myself to write what I want, when I want without giving two shits what anyone might think of it. You never know what good things will happen when you write to please yourself. Think Toni Morrison.
  4. Give up on the idea of running a marathon in my lifetime. Because the first guy who did it died.

That’s the general idea, but I refuse to hold myself to any of the resolutions stated above because that’s what New Year’s anti-resolutions are all about. For 2015, let’s do something truly revolutionary by letting go, living it up, and not even entertaining the idea of a juice cleanse.

The Pros and Cons of Hell, I Mean, NaNoWriMo

With 9,000 words to go, the end is in sight. I’ve been busting my butt since November 1st to get a novel out of my head and onto the page, and I’m afraid to look back. Though every word may be shit, they’re still words, which is good enough for most novels. I’ve learned that when you sign up for NaNoWriMo you sign a little bit of your life away, but it’s largely the bit you don’t want. I had to evict the perfectionist demons in my head if I wanted to get anything done, and for that I’m thankful.

I’ll admit, not everything about this past month has been a dream. In fact, it’s been a lot like hell! But what makes you agonize over third person vs. first person perspective makes you stronger. Here are some of the pros and cons of participating in National Novel Writing Month:

Cons

I’d really like to know who nominated the month of November. Next to December, it’s probably the worst month to attempt doing anything. Most people have family to see, beards to grow, football to watch, and piles of stuffing to regret eating. Writing a novel could not have come at a worse time, but when the going gets tough, your novel gets going…?

So hard to write when there are so many cookies to eat...

So hard to write when there are so many cookies to eat…

It feels a little like a scam when the website constantly prompts you to donate. Donate to what? The hope that I might get a “free” T-shirt at the end of this thing? Thanks, but no thanks.

Every word I write for anything else—an email, a grocery list, this blog post—feels like words I’m taking away from my novel. My inner monologue: I shouldn’t be wasting words on anything else! I might run out of them before I get to the finish line! (Side note: I don’t think anyone has ever run out of words, just like no one overdoses on pot, you just get paranoid about it.)

If you cut me open, I might bleed brown. Given the amount of coffee I’ve been drinking the past month, that’s a real possibility.

cozy

Pros

NaNoWriMo has given me the kick in the pants to follow something through from start to finish. Most projects I attempt start with enthusiasm and energy, only to veer off a cliff about twenty pages in. This way, no matter how bad the writing gets, I’ve just got to plow through. Because when you write 50,000 words, they aren’t all going to be winners.

There’s a bit of accountability when you’re logging in your word count every day. It calculates for you what date you’ll finish if you go at the rate you’re going, which can be depressing/sobering if you got off to a slow start. The bar graph doesn’t factor in magic or writing fairies showing up at the last minute to save you.

I’m building up the endurance to write through not feeling like it. In a lot of ways, it resembles training for a marathon. You have to build a tolerance and put in the hours. It’s also an excuse to eat high-carb goo in lieu of real meals.

I had to cut out Bravo to find the time to write. I don’t need real housewives after all.

Shame says, "You can do it, asshole."

Shamu says, “You can do it, asshole.”

Of course, there are a number of obstacles that could set me back this last week. I might go into a turkey-induced coma tomorrow. I could get trapped on NJ Transit in the middle of a snowstorm and have to finish my novel on the backs of ticket stubs. Or worse, I could be trapped in Brooklyn and have to finish my novel in a trendy café surrounded by hipsters. But if I’m this creative coming up with obstacles that might slow me down, I’m certainly creative enough to come up with an ending for this beast.

Hello November

hello november

We are officially in the full swing of fall. Personally, I like the month of October best, but there are plenty of things to love about November. Maybe that’s “basic” of me, but I don’t care. Turning back the clock and getting an extra hour of sleep over the weekend has got me jazzed about autumn. It makes sense why so many people love fall. It’s the perfect time to take a deep breath and enjoy the cooler weather before the full-blown, holiday season shitstorm rolls in. Even in L.A., there are plenty of ways to soak up fall before scrambling into holiday mode. Follow these simple steps to jumpstart your fall mojo.

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  1.  Start your day with some pumpkin spice granola. This recipe is simple to make, or you can swap out the banana for pumpkin puree in my cluster recipe. If you really want to go full throttle with the pumpkin, pair your granola with a homemade PSLgranola
  2. Put your boots on and walk through a pile of leaves with your puppy. Only a monster wouldn’t enjoy the perfect trifecta of crunchy leaves, a crisp fall breeze, and a puppy-dog. I mean, c’mon. Is your own neighborhood lacking in sweet birches and sugar maples? Have no fear. Head to Beverly Hills where they have their own perfect fall microclimate–or possibly have their fallen leaves shipped from an organic farm in Maine. IMG_0264IMG_0342IMG_0247
  3. Wear glasses you definitely don’t need because they feel so winter-y. fall glassesIMG_0396
  4. Make that fall foliage last all season by picking a few (dozen) special leaves to take home and press. In a couple weeks, they’ll be ready just in time for Thanksgiving crafts.IMG_0446
  5. Use a pumpkin as a weight because you can.IMG_0465
  6. String twinkle lights from every imaginable surface.twinkle lights
  7. Have way too much fun taking intentionally blurry photos of those twinkle lights.twinkle lights fuzzy
  8. Get as comfy as humanly possible. IMG_0547IMG_0561
  9. Curl up with a book, the game, or a rerun of Gilmore Girls and sip on a fall cocktail. To make, add a healthy dose of whiskey to some store-bought apple cider and stir–preferably with a cinnamon stick. cider drinkcider drink 1
  10. Get creative coming up with ways to procrastinate writing your novel for NaNoWriMo. For example, watch your beard grow or try taking a nap on this street:elm street

And that should just about do it. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to get your fall mojo on. Just be careful not to burn the house down with that pumpkin spice shrine to Gourd.

How To: Be a Feminist for Halloween

Sexy Pocahontas. Slutty Jasmine. Kinky Tinker Bell. Whatever the hell this is…

Money Pimp

Money Pimp – $223.99 on 3wishes.com

When browsing through your typical popup Halloween costume store, it can be daunting to find something that doesn’t scream Disney whore. I’m all for dressing up, but there has to be a way to get into character without appropriating different cultures, looking like a racist fool, or serving as a two-dimensional, sexual object. For me, that means staying white for Halloween.

Here are some easy, last-minute, DIY costume ideas that won’t break the bank or compromise your dignity. Use what you already have in your closet this year, and you’ll have plenty of money left for punch bowls at the tiki bar.

Brody DalleBrody Dalle, Rock Star

You’ll Need: Ripped jeans, a band t-shirt, red lipstick, and tattoos.

Quote: “They say women can’t play guitar as well as men. I don’t play the guitar with my fucking vagina, so what difference does it make?”

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Claire Underwood from House of Cards

You’ll Need: Pretty much anything tailored and grey. Bonus points if you can pull off a severe blonde pixie cut. Robin Wright mesmerizes with her performance as the ultimate female antihero. She’s a ruthless powerhouse and a master manipulator, effectively transcending the standard female sidekick in a political drama.

Quote: “I’m willing to let your child wither and die inside you if that’s what’s required.”

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Evelyn Mulwray from Chinatown

For those of us with riding clothes we were ashamed to wear in public as teenagers, now’s the time to whip out those jodhpurs. Played by Faye Dunaway, Evelyn Mulwray is your classic film noir woman. She’s cool, confident, doesn’t take shit, and managed to stay sane despite all the effed-up, horrible things that happened to her. Paint on some thin eyebrows for the full effect.

Quote: “I don’t get tough with anyone, Mr. Gittes. My lawyer does.”

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Bonnie Parker a la Bonnie and Clyde

You’ll Need: Grab a silk scarf, a mustard sweater, and a beret and you’re Bonnie Parker, another kickass character played by Faye Dunaway. Where legal, conceal a pistol in your Chanel tote to defend yourself against drunk bros dressed as Ray Rice.

Quote: “We rob banks.”

rollergirl_Fotor_Collage

Rollergirl from Boogie Nights 

If you’re like me and have some retro roller skates you can’t seem to wear anywhere, here’s your chance to lace up. Throw on some seventies gym shorts and heart-shaped sunglasses, and you’re good to go. I know you’re probably thinking, wait a minute, how can you be a porn star and a feminist at the same time? They exist. Don’t let your mind explode over it. Also, remember to drink and skate with caution.

Quote: “Amber, are you my mom? I’m gonna ask you, okay? And you say yes, okay? Amber, are you my mom?”

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Simone de Beauvoir, Writer/Intellectual/Political Activist

You’ll Need: A long skirt, a black turtleneck, and a cigarette. Bonus points if you can do her signature up-do. To really own the look, have a superior intelligence, be an expert on existential philosophy, and don’t suffer fools gladly.

Quote: “Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth.”

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Mrs. George from Mean Girls

You’ll Need: That old terry cloth Juicy jumpsuit you bought back in 2004. Bonus points for sporting a lazy eye and carrying around a tray of cocktails all night. She’s not just a regular mom—she’s a cool mom.

Quote: “Can I get you guys anything? Some snacks? A condom? Let me know!”

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Margaret Schroeder from Boardwalk Empire

You’ll Need: A drop waist dress and an Irish accent. One of my all-time favorite characters, Margaret Schroeder (played by Kelly Macdonald), epitomizes the strength and perseverance of first wave feminists while reserving her own set of complex worldviews. She steals the spotlight on Boardwalk, along with my heart.

Quote: “Here’s an experiment for you. Think about the things you want in life, then picture yourself in a dress.”

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Elizabeth Shaw from Prometheus

To Make: Grab some white underwear, splatter yourself with blood, run a few miles to get super sweaty, and you’re Noomi Rapace from the most intense scene in Prometheus. You might be scantily clad in this costume, but having just ripped an alien fetus out of your uterus, you definitely won’t be a sexual object. If you’re up for it, you can argue with conservative Republicans all night about why a woman deserves the right to abort an alien baby that’s bent on murdering her.

Quote: “We were wrong! We were SO wrong!”

Stoned White Girl with Pony - $19.99 at Forever 21

Stoned White Girl with Pony – $19.99 at Forever 21

Be Yourself!

You’ll Need: What you wear on the reg. Because I’m assuming we’re all feminists every day of the year and not just on Halloween, am I right?

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Happy Halloween, everybody :)