True words from my panda

My wife is so insightful. This is one of the many reasons I married her. Read her status update from yesterday regarding not only the recent issues about gay rights and Chick Fil A, but also just tolerance in general:

“It’s time for us to turn to each other, not on each other.”
 
With many others, I believe in equality for all people. I believe my love is the same as any other true love. Sadly, during this time of enlightenment and opportunity to become a closer community, it seems that many are allowing their strong beliefs to get in the way of common decency. In times of discrimination and criticism, rise up and stand for peace and respect. Why allow another’s lack of acceptance change the way you treat each other? I understand opinions and beliefs make us who we are, but don’t let them make you ignorant and uncivil. I have many opinions about this situation and I make sure to share them respectfully in a way to educate and not to condemn. For over a year now, I have not eaten at that restaurant. Not only because of the anti-gay groups they donate to, but because some of those groups are affiliated with lobbying in favor of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexual Bill. This bill allows the imprisonment and murder of people accused of being a homosexual and those that know them. In the end, this is not a “christian versus gay” fight. This is not a fight at all. This is a chance. A chance to make your story known and become closer with supporters and, more importantly, those who need our support. The real fight is for those out there being persecuted and physically harmed for being themselves. How will your outward aggression and negativity make a positive change in the world? Easy, it won’t. Allow love to become your belief and it will become your life.

- Rose :D

Being…

I’m not going to use many words today. I’m just sitting here at my desk daydreaming about going outside, recalling the fun adventures I have had. The times I can remember vividly are when I simply existed… when I would just “be.” I’ve been trying a way of simply “being” more often. It’s truly  transcendental.

When I get to experience something new or fresh or interesting, I take a moment and just absorb every sight, sound and feeling, even if only for a second. I’m a very fast pace multi-tasker (a true Virgo), so allowing myself that chance to “be” is very rewarding. It releases so much stress and enhances memories… like a tiny little vacation within myself. For someone like me, who is constantly planning, wondering and worrying, it’s an exceptional gift.

This is simply a reminder to do this more often…

 

It’s ok to be gay… and jealous

I’m going to be really frank — as a lesbian couple, sometimes we get jealous of straight people. I’m not ashamed of these feelings, because I think they are completely natural, and any feeling – good or bad – is still your own and should never be stifled.

One major event where our jealousy really comes up is at weddings. I love attending weddings and nothing makes me happier than to see see two people so in love that they want to commit to a lifetime together. But, I can’t help but also feel a slight resentment. First of all, for Rose and I to make the same commitment to each other, we had to go out of state to the courthouse. And now, our own hometown doesn’t even recognize our marriage legally. Also, I know some people viewed it as a “union” or a “party” instead of a wedding. Most people are incredibly accepting, but there are always those few people that still see us as different, no matter how tolerant they seem. Straight couples never experience this. Most of them probably never even think about how easy it is. I guess it really comes down to a sense of equality and respect that, on some levels, we just don’t get.

Also, my parents didn’t participate in any way at either of our weddings. They have found a religion that causes them to feel very opposed to me being a lesbian. I didn’t have my dad to walk me down the aisle or dance with me. My mother wasn’t around to beam with pride and stress. My only sister declined, which hurt the most because I had decided to be in her wedding the year prior (more on this later). Of course, they did not contribute financially, either. I know sometimes family can be so overbearing when it comes to weddings, but in all honesty – I’d give anything to have had that.

Another big time for jealousy is babies. Please know that I am incredibly over the moon when a friend or family member finds out they are expecting. New life is a beautiful thing – and even better when it comes in a soft little drooling package that smells so good. But when I find out about a new baby, there is also just this tiny part inside of me that feels sad, and maybe even a little angry. None of these feelings are directed at the new parents in any way. It’s just a feeling of longing – of being so very happy for those that I love but wishing that someday, I could share that exact same joy.

Rose and I definitely want to have little humans of our own one day, and we will absolutely make it happen… but there is no denying that it just will never be exactly like heterosexual couples. We can’t just hop into bed and make a family. We have to find a donor or adopt – which gets much more complicated and expensive. There is no way to truly have a child that is both mine and hers biologically. It’s hard to know that there are people in this world that never wanted to be parents and yet, one simple act gave them exactly what we want so badly. On top of that, some of our relatives, coworkers and acquantainces might be uncomfortable with how we decide to create and raise children. We experience much more open discrimination. My own parents disagree with my “lifestyle,” so who knows if they would be involved at all. Basically, even though I am thrilled to find about about pregnancies, I also have accepted that it brings up my own issues of things I cannot have that are out of my control.

I do want to express that I am very content with my personal journey. I realize that if I were to have what other people have when it comes to babies or weddings, that I would also have a different life – and I would NEVER trade what I have now for anything. Our wedding was everything I dreamed of and more – and I know when we have kids, they will be ours – and we will have the perfect family for us. What more could you ask for? But I’m sure I’m not alone in having that little tiny jealousy bug every once in a while.

I don’t want any of my dear straight friends to ever feel like they should be careful around me with what they share. This is not about being mad that someone is luckier than me and rubbing it in my face. It’s my own issue. Sometimes I’ll have to check myself with a little reminder that there is no reason to be resentful – that everything is simply about love – and althought it’s ok that I’m jealous, it’s also great to be happy.

I guess what I can say to straight couples is this: don’t ever take what you have for granted! There is probably a lesbian somewhere out there that would gladly give you a slap in the face to remind you of just how great those little things in life can be… ;)

Friday the 13th Alley Cat

 

Happy Friday the 13th! This day always reminds me of sassy alley cats. Which I just so happen to have channeled when I saw Sharon Needles perform in Baltimore. She is the queen that won last season of Rupaul’s Drag Race. I adore her because she is fierce, dark, and nice as pie. Her gothic looks inspired my Halloweeny outfit for that evening…

 

 

Complete with leopard print heels, of course! Found these a few years back on the clearance rack at Sears!

The cat mask is from Party City. Which, if you are a fan of Drag Race, you know that Sharon Needles has been adopted as the unofficial Queen of the Party City Underworld.

*meow*

“If anyone ever boos you offstage, that’s just applause from ghosts”
~ Sharon Needles

Ready to POP Baby Shower details

Last weekend, I had the privilege of helping to plan a baby shower for our amazing friends, Debra & James. I am not joking when I say these two are going to be fantastic parents. So naturally I wanted to give them a shower that matched. Here I’ll go over how I created some of the elements that I contributed:

 

READY TO POP Funfetti Popcorn Favors

For the popcorn:
(Makes about 25 bags)

- 9 packs of kettle corn
- 1 bag of pretzel squares
- rainbow sprinkles
- 3 packs of Wilton vanilla melt candy
- M&M’s (sometimes you can get lucky and find pastel – but I got pink from the craft store)

For the bags:
- clear plastic bags (I got these free from a friend’s work function)
- curling ribbon
- stickers created by me and ordered through Vistaprint (contact me if you are interested in this design!)

Directions:

1. Pop all the bags of popcorn and start filling up large bowls, breaking up pretzel pieces into them as you go.

2. Melt the Wilton candies one bag at a time and drizzle it onto the popcorn. I used about 1 Wilton bag per bowl and my giant bowls fit around 2-3 bags of popcorn. It was useful to have my sister helping so that we could pop, melt and pour as we went along.

3. Immediately add sprinkles while the candy cools and then add the M&Ms. Stir.

4. Wait for everything to cool and harden completely before bagging.

WARNING: This popcorn is highly addictive. It WILL make you very popular.

Hand-painted Ceramic Piggy Bank Guestbook

I ordered white ceramic piggy bank from BabySakes.com and then just painted pink polkadots with craft acrylics to match the baby’s room. A quick trip in the oven helps the paints set. Guests were encouraged to slip little pieces of advice inside to be read on her first birthday.

A friendly reminder if you don’t want to burn your house down: REMOVE the rubber stopper in the bottom of the pig before putting it in the oven. Otherwise, your apartment will fill with smoke causing your smoke alarm to go crazy while you are at your neighbor’s and your dogs are flipping out. Or was that just me…

 

SUSHI Plate Baby Gift

I found this adorable sushi baby gift presentation idea from Dollar Store Crafts.  They break down the steps to show you how to roll each item. All of the elements came from Target – a pack of white onesies, a fish bath toy with wash clothes and some colorful socks… even the plate! The “seaweed” is made out of black plastic table cloth! I finished it off with a gift certificate to a local sushi restaurant so the new parents have somewhere fun to go out after the baby. Personally, I know raw fish is something I would greatly miss during pregnancy. I thought the certificate was a way to stick with the gift theme but also treat our friends to something nice just for them.

How could you resist spoiling this adorable new mommy???

Target’s new PRIDE t-shirt line

Target just launched a line of Pride t-shirts which makes me rather excited because it combines my addiction to my favorite bargain store with me being… uh… gay. And they are all only $12.99.

I actually like some of the men’s shirt designs better. Why is it that gay men seem to be the only ones allowed to be prideful and fabulous? Luckily my wife has an affinity for men’s t shirts.

Do you think she could pull this one off WHILE wearing actual sunglasses?

But hey look! Gwen Stefani got in on the action with her Harajuku line. I love that girl.

And don’t forget the best part: “Target will Donate 100% of PRIDE Merchandise Sales to Family Equality Council.” I think I’ll be getting at least one for Baltimore Pride this year!

DIY Lemon Salt Scrub in an upcycled Nutella jar

I’m finally getting on a homemade gift kick and one of my latest creations was a lemon skin scrub that can be left next to the kitchen sink or kept in the shower to keep skin feeling soft and moisturized. I was inspired by a few recipes that I found online to make my own version. Trust me, it is ridiculously easy and smells so fresh!

I wanted to get a little eco-friendly with this, so I upcycled an old Nutella Jar to keep the scrub in. First, I ate all the Nutella. This is a very critical step so DO NOT SKIP IT!

Then, I  filled the jar with soapy water and rinsed it out every half hour or so until it was completely clean.

The trickiest part was removing the label that is glued to the plastic. I soaked the entire jar in a mixture of water and mieral oil for at least an hour until it finally came off clean.


Eventually I was left with a cute little jar ready to be filled with citrus scrubbing goodness! I took a little white spray paint to the lid to give it a clean look and wash out the black label that is stamped on the side.

Next came the fun part of creating the lemon scrub…

DIY LEMON CITRUS SALT SCRUB

You will need:

  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • lemon & orange zest (optional)

1. Mix the olive oil and sea salt thoroughly

2. Add tsp of lemon juice or more depending on the consistency and scent you want to achieve

3. Top with zest from lemon and/or orange peel and then stir that in

That’s it! Now your skin can be summer ready and smelling fresh. I had my wife take a sniff when I finished and her first reaction was “Can I eat that?”

Thanks, Obama… Same-sex marriage is important NOW

Yesterday, Obama made history as the first seated president to openly express his support of same-sex marriage. I know it’s a small step right now, but I’m really thrilled. If someone in his position can come forward with this support, we are definitley headed in a positive direction. Right after his statement, my Facebook news feed was overrun with people expressing excitement. Many of which are not even gay. Our generation is beautiful because of all of these people that show so much support and know what they stand for. It is people like this that help people like me who do not have enough of a voice.

But there are also those few folks that still say that Obama should be focusing on “more important” issues. For anyone that thinks this, please take a moment to understand what is behind this issue that you deem so unimportant — what it means to me and to so many, many other Americans like me.

I am married to a woman. We’re in love, we fight, and we always have each other. My life is quite similar to yours. So why aren’t my rights? And why is it such a big deal anyway?

First and foremost: this is about equality. We want recognition and respect for our partnerships. 

“It’s the kind of thing that prompts a change of perspective—not wanting to somehow explain to your child why somebody should be treated differently when it comes to eyes of the law.”—President Obama

Rose and I have been together for almost 10 years. I fell in love with her after we became close friends during high school theater. She makes me laugh like no one else on this planet. I feel a crazy mix of total comfort and overwhelming excitement when I am around her. We live in an apartment with our two rescue dogs. We plan to buy a house in the next 5 years. We talk about raising children. We make dinner together while sipping on our favorite local white wines. We cuddle up to watch Glee on weeknights and we dance like lunatics with our friends on Saturday night. We’re just a couple… and all we want is to be treated as such. 

We  decided to make a lifelong commitment that began with our love for each other but also expands into our community. Every partnership blossoms with the support of those around you – family, friends, coworkers. It’s so important to us that our partnership be given the same significance as any other couple. Every day of our lives is impacted by inequality – from shopping for groceries together to attending family dinners. It’s almost impossible for me to paint a picture for you unless you have actually experienced a lack of general respect as a human being. Acceptance within society is so incredibly important. Our marriage is about love, it’s as simple as that. But not only do we know that we are not getting equal respect, we also have many other legal issues to fear.

Starting a family will be very difficult for us. Filing our taxes gets confusing. We get ripped off when it comes to health insurance (and I mean more than the average American). And I’m only just beginning… 

If one of us were to be hospitalized today, we could be denied visitation rights – or worse – the ability to make a decision for the other. Throughout our relationship, we have already gone through various health issues. Rose has had multiple surgeries and even some cancer scares. I don’t even want to think about what could happen to us without the recognition of me as her wife.

Zach Wahls, author of “My Two Moms” described a situation in which one of this moms was hospitalized for extreme pain caused by her MS. His other mother was unable to stay with her partner in the hospital. I can’t even fathom how much they suffered. It’s inhumane for anyone to have to go through this. And my of my biggest fears is that someday this could be us.

I ask: Why am I any less of a citizen than you? Why should your political goals be put before mine? I contribute to society, pay taxes and vote. And yet, my marriage – a major part of my life – is not seen as the same as my equals.

I have found a fulfilling partnership with Rose and all we want is to be able to make a lifelong commitment to each other that will be protected by the law. Regardless of what the government says, I will continue to live with Rose and create a happy little home. I will never change. Adjusting the laws will not stop us from loving each other, it will only deny us the benefits of marriage. Not allowing gay couples to marry will not turn them straight. It will only make us more determined.

Imagine how much money would get circulated back into the wedding industry with all the additional weddings to plan. Then consider all the couples that will build a household together, combine incomes, and pay taxes as married folk. With the security of knowing their marriage is protected, they will have children, pay for private school, or adopt. Are you starting to see how gay marriage might also have a positive impact on the economy and society?

This is so much more than a social issue. It is about basic human rights. It is about protection and security. It’s about love and commitment. It’s about household chores and pillow talk… Gay marriage IS a political matter because we are all human beings that deserve equal treatment in the eyes of the law.


The distribution of equal rights affects our taxes, our economy and above all – the rights of citizens. Why is this more important than other issues? Whether you support same-sex marriage or not, there is no way to deny that granting equal rights will have a major impact on our society. It will affect your aunt, your neighbor, your teacher, your best friend…  me. I guarantee there is someone you know whose entire life would be directly impacted by this movement. 

Many Americans are opposed to marriage equality because of their religious views. Fine. That’s not what I’m focused on. Because there are many other Americans that simply think it’s just not important enough. That we have to fix our economy first. That we have to find more jobs and more money. But economic problems will never end. And in the meantime, gay and lesbian couples are still being treated as second-class citizens. You might say that you don’t have a problem with homosexuality, but by saying you don’t care if our president or government does something about it now: you are part of the problem.

DIY Instagram 3-D wall prints

I decided to decorate one of our walls with some of my own Instagram photos with a 3-D wall mount – and it was almost as simple as using Instagram and pretending to be a photographer (find me @StickPrincess). Here are the images I decided to print at Ritz camera:

The 4X4 glossy prints are really affordable and actually turn out looking pretty good, as long as you don’t mind them being a teensy grainy. So after I picked up my prints and admired my artistic eye, the next step was to create a wall mount for each one to give them that gallery feel – I’m just fancy like that.

What you’ll need:

- Foam blocks from any craft store that are at least 2″ thick (usually in the floral department)
- Modge Podge & brush
- Scissors
- Poster board
- Some sort of sharp objects to cut up the foam

First use Modge Podge to adhere each individual photo to the poster board and then cut out the edges for a perfect fit. This gives it a little extra backing so it doesn’t bend or curl.

While those dry, chop up your foam blocks into smaller cubes. I used a knife that we had from a pumpkin carving kit. It was a little messy, but these won’t actually show, so it’s ok if they aren’t perfect, as long as they are basically rectangular in nature.

Finally, dab a little more Modge Podge or any craft glue onto a foam block and stick one to the center of the each photo. This will give it that gallery look that makes it raised away from the wall just slightly.

To hang them to the wall, I used Command wall mount stickers, but I would actually buy a different kind next time. The ones I chose have that little tab on the side that you are supposed to pull when you want to remove them cleanly. Well, I was tugging a little on the photo that was already hung and it tore off part of the paint on our wall, I guess they really stick until you pull that tab!!! I think Command sells other hanging options that might work better for something like this. Or if you use them, make sure to leave the tab hanging over the side so you can access it once it’s on the wall and don’t pull anywhere else on it even a little. Luckily you can’t tell now that they are mounted – and I get to see my Instagram masterpieces every day!

One Human Family

The wife and I just recently returned from a fabulous trip to Key West. We went last year for our honeymoon and just had to return! The one and only place we will ever stay is Alexander’s Guesthouse. It’s a gay-owned bed & breakfast. The staff are so friendly that we literally felt like it is a second home.

This trip, we had serious vacation withdrawal. We’ve never felt more comfortable anywhere… even in our home state.

This is largly in part to the official motto of Key West - “One Human Family.” I spotted these stickers at practically every bar and throughout the city. It’s as if the whole town is making sure you know that they are welcoming to all types of families. This goes so far beyond tolerance, and it’s what we really deserve.

Every person we encountered talked to us like we were a couple – instead of getting that weird “are they so close because they’re sisters?” vibe from some strangers. No one gave us a second glance when I was holding on to Rose’s back on our rental scooter – unless of course to admire how awesome we looked. We don’t get a ton of dirty looks at home, but we most certainly have experienced them. In Key West, no one is an outcast except those that are judgemental. I’m actually serious about this. There really is a place where I can kiss my wife in public and feel EXACTLY like any other couple.

Here is a highlight from the One Human Family proclamation (as signed by the Mayor), just to give you an idea of what it really is like there:

Key West is an enlightened island community that is passionate about all living together as caring, sharing neighbors; and that each of us are dedicated to making our home as close to “paradise” as we can… We truly believe that all other people are our equals.”

 One of my favorite parts about the One Human Family proclamation is that the stickers are totally FREE! I love anything with a good message that I don’t have to pay for. In fact, I got one from a drag queen during her performance at one of the local shows. I shall treasure it always.

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