A guide to being a princess everyday

It’s National Princess Week and you know what the means: I’m breaking out my tiara! As a matter of fact, I own several and no amount of growing up will ever make me stop finding reasons to wear them. I’m proud to call myself a princess and although some people may consider this conceited or bratty, to them I say “Off with your head!” I see nothing wrong with a sense of confidence and playfulness. There really is something to be learned from Disney heroines. They never let anything get them down and still kept their hair looking fabulous.  

Me as Snow White for Halloween

 Seriously, anyone can be a princess – gay, straight, tomboy, muscular, tattooed – the princess lifestyle simply means that you think highly of yourself and project that everyday, keeping in mind that life really can resemble a fairy tale. Here’s my 12 point guide to being a princess:

  1. Make your home your castle You spend so much time there, why not focus on making it a perfect haven? Burn those fancy candles and hang up oversized paintings. Always be ready for company to stop by.
  2. When in doubt, overdress It never hurts to look your best – and it’s a compliment to the host.
  3. Keep yourself educated by reading, keeping up on the news and just being a nerd on a regular basis.
  4. Never let them see you sweat When things get too stressful, remain poised. You can always ask for help if you need it – but in order to run a country you still have to look like you know what you’re doing!
  5. Sing unnecessarily Preferably in public. Normal everyday conversation is just better received when set to a tune.
  6. Fall head over heels in love with your job, your pet, your best friend, or your partner. Embrace that overwhelming feeling of passion and let it carry you away.
  7. Walk like royalty with your shoulders back and your chin up.
  8. Smile and make eye contact with strangers It makes you feel more confident and projects that to the rest of the world. Watch as people respond to your smile.
  9. Talk to animals they have a lot of wisdom.
  10. Attend events It can be so fun to see and be seen. There are countless parties going on all the time… pick one! And always keep in mind that you were invited because your presence is wanted.
  11.  Appreciate the arts Have music playing, go to galleries and pretend to shop, make something with your hands.
  12. Celebrate everything especially birthdays – even your own.

I’m want to keep trying to live by these every day… do you have your own rules for being royalty?

I love who I love: What the word “lesbian” means to me

 We’re going to the NOH8 photoshoot in Baltimore tonight and I am SO excited! This is one of my favorite campaigns and I’m thrilled to finally be able to participate. 

These are our friends Jo & Jaimee posing for NOH8 last year… hot right?

This got me thinking about my own sexual identity and what makes me (or anyone) a lesbian. I came out 9 years ago when my wife, Rose, and I started dating. She is the only woman I have ever been with – and we were just kids at the time! So we really shared our journeys out of the closet and into lesbian adulthood together.

We were in high school when we first met in theater and became fast friends

When I started telling people about my relationship with Rose, I had many of my friends and family ask if I considered myself a lesbian now – often in a sarcastic way. I was a crazy intense Catholic at the time, so I was battling with my own internal guilt and really had no idea what to call myself – or if I even wanted to. I was afraid to give myself a label, because of what it might mean. I had my own stereotypes built up about gay people, and I just wasn’t ready to consider myself one of “them.” Although I loved Rose, I was scared that I would never have the option to go back to being normal (whatever that even means).

And even after I was sure that my attraction to a woman wasn’t simply experimental (remember, I had Catholic upbringing and was extremely jaded about what made someone gay), I was still hesitant to use the word lesbian, not only because of my own reservations, but also because of how I thought other people might react. I didn’t want to be forced into a box. I was afraid that it would make my parents even more ashamed of me. Most of my friends were also conservative (or at least so I thought) and I worried that they’d look at me differently if I fully identified as gay.

Now I know that labeling myself as a lesbian is empowering.

I never really had much interest in boys growing up. I knew I was supposed to occupy my time with crushes, so I’d often just pick a boy I thought was cute or nice and focus on him. I only had one boyfriend in high school and one in college – both lasted for about a month. But because I have only really had a serious relationship with a woman, I guess you could ask how I am sure of my sexual identity. Well, I’m not. And who cares?

You fall in love with the person, not the gender. Everyone has a certain type that they are drawn to – brunettes, tall, outgoing – and I think that gender is part of this. Anyone that says that they can’t tell if someone of the same sex is good looking is lying – perhaps even to themselves.

So, yes, I’ve seen plenty of women I find attractive… and I’ve also seen plenty of men. Does this make me bisexual? Maybe it does. But does that really matter? If I weren’t with Rose, would I date other women? Probably. But I can’t really say for sure. I plan to be with a woman for the rest of my life, so I’d say that definitely makes me a lesbian. And I’m damn proud of this label, because it expresses my commitment to my partner, my identity as a woman, and my plans for the future. I use it intentionally now, even when I know it might make someone uncomfortable – because that is their problem and not mine. I know who I am and I know who I love. End of story.

Together over 9 years and going strong!

The Grilled Cheese Sandwich Master

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day, friends!

Grilled cheese is probably one of our all-time favorite food items. It also helps that I am pretty much the master of the grilled cheese sandwich. I have perfected the ideal toast to melted cheese combo. I have tossed in everything from pickles to tomatoes. My favorite ingredient so far has probably been avocado. Check out this recipe from A Turtle’s Life For Me using mozzarella cheese, fresh avocado and a thin layer of pepperoni. Just add a glass of red wine and a bowl of tomato soup and you are in comfort food heaven.

And speaking of tomato soup, isn’t this bowl & plate tray genius?

 

from Uncommon Goods for $30.00

Our Easter Outfits

Breaking out the Spring attire.

Panda’s Easter look: short sleeve button up from JCPenney men’s department, layered under a v-neck grey tee and a blue polkadot bow tie from ebay!

My teal printed Easter dress is from Target… I love the pockets!

 

Lessons Learned from Our Wedding Day that Apply to a Marriage

  1. Go with the flow. Things will not go as planned. It’s much easier to accept this and be ready for it.
  2. Never leave each other’s side, unless one of you needs a drink.
  3. Talk about your expectations beforehand, but prepare to be surprised anyway.
  4. Keep smiling – people have cameras.
  5. There is no such thing as disappointment, as long as you enjoy yourself.
  6. Soak up every moment, it will go by much too quickly.
  7. Take time to eat dessert, or wear it.
  8. Share secrets. Make each other blush.
  9. Cry if you want to.
  10. Never forget that it all comes down to the two of you.
  11. Make sure you remind each other how amazing you both look.
  12. Ignore messes, stains or mix-ups. They aren’t worth the stress.
  13. Be gracious hosts.
  14. Tell each other how you really feel. Make promises. Dream big.
  15. Get excited for the next step, but live in the present.
  16. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
  17. Kiss. Often.
  18. Realize that your family and friends are there for you.
  19. Step away from all the chaos and breathe together.
  20. When there isn’t anything left to do…. DANCE!

Photo by Blair Allen Photography

May the Eggs Be Ever in Your Favor

At some point a few years back, I eagerly took up the task of putting together Easter baskets for our three nephews – now between the ages of 10 and 16. Every year I also made up a challenge to go along with the baskets. You don’t just handed gifts in THIS family… no sirs! You gotta earn them. I’ve done everything from scavenger hunts to trivia.

This year, we set up an arena all around the yard in true Hunger Games fashion. Well except for the part where they had to fight to the death…

Station 1: Shoot a basket through the hoop
Station 2: Climb a tree and retrieve the ribbon with your name
Station 3: Shoot an arrow through a target
Station 4: Locate your colored item hidden somewhere in the yard
Station 5: Hit a croquet ball through the goal in less than 2 shots
Station 6: Create a lasso out of rope and throw it around a metal hook

Once they completed every station, they could claim their “cornucopias” – which in this case were some colorful baskets from Dollar Tree filled with goodies. Yeah, you can just call me Effie Trinket 😉

I’ve been doing this for years so here are some of my ideas for what to put in Easter baskets for teenage boys, besides candy:

  • mechanical pencils
  • iTunes gift card (or any gift card, really)
  • socks
  • soda cans/bottles
  • packs of gum
  • individual bags of chips or popcorn
  • fresh fruit
  • iPod headphones
  • small sports equipment
  • packs of playing cards
  • handheld puzzles

 Do you have any unique Easter gift ideas or traditions?

Hello Neon!

I’m pretty excited to see neon making a comeback, because this girl certainly loves a little taste of the 80’s.

I found this slouchy pink sweater at Goodwill for around $10 and bought it to wear to a Legwarmers concert. Then I fell in love, paired it with some skinny jeans and an outfit was born! It goes perfectly with my newest TOMs, too.

Cadbury Egg Goodness

Every year, one of my favorite things about the Easter holiday is that this commerical comes back on the air:


I am so entertained by those animals sounds I can hardly stand it.

And speaking of Cadbury products, those cream-filled eggs are pretty much better than crack. Probably because they come from a magical bunny that makes chicken noises.

But I’m not really much of a chocolate person,  so just one of those little nuggets of sugary goodness are enough for me. Just imagine my joy when I found this recipe by Katrina at inkatrinaskitchen.com for Cadbury Cream Cookie Cups. Less chocolate. More cookie. And the cream! I think I just died.


 
Ingredients:
 
·        Chocolate chip cookie cups (step 1)
 
·        ½ Cup light corn syrup
 
·        ¼ Cup salted butter, softened
 
·        1 teaspoon vanilla
 
·        3 Cups powdered sugar
 
·        Yellow food coloring
Directions:

1.   Prepare your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray and add about 3 Tablespoons of dough to each muffin well. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden. Let cool 15 minutes in the pan. The middle will sink in. To help it along you can press a small glass (or spice jar) into the well to create a cookie cup. While the cookies are warm but firm use the tips of your fingers to gently twist the cookie cups up and out of the pan. Let cool completely.

2.   In the bowl of your mixer combine corn syrup, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.

3.   Remove about 1/3 of the cream and dye with yellow food coloring.

4.   Pour white cream into the cookie cups. Finish off with a small drop of yellow cream.

5.   Yield 12 cookie cups

I seriously had no idea it was this easy to make that magical Cadbury cream. This is something I could actually probably attempt to bake!

Fancy Lesbian Easter Attire Through the Years…

Well I thought I’d kick off my fashion posts with a highlight on Easter attire for us as a lesbian couple. I refuse to put lesbian fashion into the boxes of “male” and “female,” but I’m sure you will see that we are each comfortable in different expressions of gender identity. One thing we do share is our love of color, and what better time than Spring to break out the brights! 

purple printed dress from JCPenney (small dog accessory optional)

yellow sundress from Marshall’s

floral dress from H&M

Basically, when it comes to chilly Spring fashion – our motto is:

A sweater vest and sundress can go a LONG way!

To a marriage that doesn’t “suck”

The wife and I just celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary on March 24. This is not to be confused with our wedding date of October 8. Why do I get two anniversaries for one amazing marriage? Because I’m a princess.

And also because we had two weddings!

When Washington DC became the next kickass state to legalize same-sex marriage, panda and I quickly rushed off to the courthouse to tie the knot before anyone could call mulligans. Although we considered ourselves married from that point on, it didn’t really feel like much of a wedding day. So we threw an actual party last year in October. At some point in the near future, I’ll reminisce about that. But today… we talk lollipops.

Because we are going to Key West soon, we are considering the trip our anniversary gift to each other. We agreed not to buy any other gifts, so naturally, I made something. I arranged to have a bouquet dropped off to surprise Rose at work. But my wife is not really a flower kind of girl, so I put together something even better… CANDY. 

Image

How'd you like to be greeted by this baby on your desk?

Here’s how you can make your own lollipop bouquet…

Buy:
– As many bags of Dum Dum lollipops as you can get your hands on (I also used Blow Pops because I’m just that kind of wife)

– Foam ball for flower arranging

– A bucket, bowl, flower pot or some other container that the foam ball will fit in with half peeking out

– Ribbon, or anything else obnoxious enough to decorate with

Now just go crazy shoving those little suckers (pun intended) into the foam ball until it is completely covered. I inserted them along the bottom edge and worked my way around to the top. I ran out of lollipops at the very end (after already going through 4 bags!) so I just covered that space with some curly ribbon and a little sign and no one was the wiser. 

You really can’t beat a gift with such an impact that also lasts a lot longer than roses AND will give you a sugar rush!