New Year’s Revolutions

My husband is a music teacher, and he recently asked one of his favorite students to write down a list of “New Year’s Music Resolutions.” When she came back, she presented him with her “New Year’s Revolutions,” which he corrected, but found oddly moving. When he told me about this, I was moved too—the idea of a ten-year-old girl starting a revolution felt extremely timely and appropriate. So this year, in addition to my resolutions (no drinking, more sleep, better study habits, etc), I’m making a list of revolutions.

  1. Attend a goddamn protest. My excuse last year was that I worked weekends, so I didn’t have the free time to go show my support for the Women’s March, Science March, etc. I was in California at the time of the badass August protest in Boston, so I was extra unavailable. But now? I have weekends off. There was no defensible reason that I wasn’t at the anniversary of the Women’s March over last weekend. The actual reason? I didn’t even know it was happening until I saw people’s IG posts. I know I’m in a grad school bubble, but I passionately care about these issues, and need to hit the streets to show my support. Throwing occasional money at causes isn’t the same as showing up and fighting. No more slacktivism in 2018.
  2. Buy all organic. Time to put my money where my mouth is. The only way to increase demand for natural, local, and organic foods is to literally increase demand for them. Even though, to quote my ex-boyfriend’s tweet, there’s “no ethical consumption under capitalism,” we can at least fucking try. It’s great that a carton of eggs is 89 cents, but it won’t kill me to buy the cage-free. And it’s not more expensive to buy organic! I mean, per unit, maybe, but you’d be amazed at how much you save when you stop buying processed foods and start buying whole.
  3. Believe in myself. I know this sounds wicked stupid, but for me, a depressive, possible-ADHD-sufferer and probable codependent, believing in myself is a radical, political act. The idea that I deserve a happiness and a good life is an entirely foreign concept to me. When you’re 26 and in grad school, you get asked what you’re going to do with your life constantly, and my answer thus far has been a giant question mark. Not because I don’t want a bright future, but because I’ve never had hopes, dreams, or goals. I didn’t believe that I could. This year, I’m going to write a script, look for internships, keep this blog going, and work on myself in therapy. Being a mess is not “cute” or “creative.” It’s weak.
  4. Curb my spending and shop local. Refer back to the “no ethical consumption under capitalism” notion. In my heart of hearts, I am a lil’ socialist, but in my habits I am basically a corporate monster. I believe in universal basic income, health care, and education, but do literally nothing to work towards those outcomes. “Shopping local” isn’t exactly socialist, but when my money supports local businesses in my community, or women-owned businesses, I feel less shame about parting with it. Why do I have a Starbucks gold card when my local coffee shop has way better coffee (and a way better points system)? Now, to kick the Amazon habit…
  5. Go minimal. This goes along with #4—I DO NOT NEED SO MUCH STUFF. I know I’m in the “accumulation” phase of life—newly married, young, building my identity, yadda yadda yadda—but who ever said that being an adult meant being inundated with THINGS? I’ve been donating and consigning clothes with thredUP, selling my old textbooks on Amazon, and bringing my housewares and miscellaneous items to charity shops. My aspirational self is one that has a capsule wardrobe and lives a Marie Kondo/Swedish Death Cleaning-approved life, but one step at a time.
  6. Speak up. In the current political climate, I’m afraid to use my voice. Not here, or screaming into the Twitter void, but in person. I hate bringing up the subject of politics in conversation, unless I know the affiliation of the persons present. I hate conflict, and it seems that people on the, well, wrong side of history, have very loud, aggressive voices. Since they support him, and the general shadiness of the current incarnation of the GOP, they aren’t amenable to reason. I can’t argue, because they’ve abandoned all logic. My goal for 2018 is to be an ally, and speak up when I hear ignorant people use racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic (Jesus Christ this list is long) language and not back down in the face of dissent. POC, LGBTQ folx, and every other person who is marginalized by the current system deserve better than my meek support and retweets.

Fight the power!

xoxo,

c

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Tampon, Tamp-off

IMHO, there’s not enough period content on the internet. When Thinx came out, they kind of blew up, but there have been some ethical concerns about the company that have overshadowed their very dope gender-neutral/fluid inclusive advertising. Truthfully, I’ll literally read any article about this topic—I suppose it’s my version of watching pimple-popping videos on YouTube (which is fucking disgusting).

As far as my own preferences go, I am firmly on team tampon. I wasted 2 precious years of my “womanly” life not using them, and I wish I could go back in time and smack myself. I’ve been trying to convince myself to buy a Lunette cup for half a decade, but when push comes to shove, I turn to the safety of the familiar. As an amateur environmentalist (she says, drinking her plastic take-out cup of coffee), I want to manage my period like I manage everything else—buy organic when possible, look for recyclable or compostable packaging—like a lil’ hippie.

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rare video of me being surprised by the same thing every month for over 13 years. what’s the definition of insanity again?

I’ll spend, like, a fifth of my life dealing with this (natural, beautiful) menace, so I wanted to honor it with a blog post. Here are the things that make the struggle easier.

Clue

Thank the deity of your choice for Clue. I literally don’t know how I’d survive without this handy tool. Clue is an app that tracks your period and fertility, a major boon to people like me that can’t be on hormonal birth control because of health issues (TMI?). I use it to avoid a monthly Carrie shower scene, but it’s also great for women trying to conceive—you can set reminders during your fertile window to take your BBT! It’s not always 100% accurate because bodies are unpredictable DEVILS, but it’s damn near perfect. And there are a ton of other tracking options in addition to your cycle—you can track exercise, mood, skin breakouts, alcohol consumption, and sexy times, among other things. This is a great all-in-one app for people who, unlike me, don’t have their life data strewn across multiple apps (FitBit, Lifesum, etc).

P.S. Somebody buy me that uterus tote bag, stat.

L.

Hands down, these are my favorite tampons ever. Affordable, organic tampons in the prettiest packaging imaginable, available at Target? The downside here is that the tampons come with applicators, which is wasteful. I switched to these from o.b., so it pains me to toss the plastic, but I am about that organic cotton life, fam. They even have a subscription service that looks super affordable (like, $5/month affordable). Plus, their message is inspiring; they’re the TOMS of menstruation. Every time you buy L., a product “is donated to a female entrepreneur in a developing country.”

P.S. They also sell sustainable condoms and do work to combat HIV/AIDs. Get on it.

Brandless

I’m actually surprised that I haven’t repped Brandless yet here on the ol’ blog. I am in love with this site, which is a great shopping destination for organic non-perishable/shelf-stable grocery items and beauty products. Best of all, they have organic tampons and pads! The panty liners are a particularly good deal—like a year’s supply for $3! They’re a brand-new company, so they’re adding new products all the time.

Seventh Generation

I have loved Seventh Generation for ages, but now that Maya Rudolph is the brand ambassador? Color me obsessed. Seventh Gen is also available at Target, which just makes life a million times easier.

Seventh Gen feminine products are more expensive than L., at least at my Target, but they do have a no-applicator tampon option which ups the environmental ante. The brand’s commitment to plant-based, natural products gives me all the feels.

***

What products to you use to stem the tide? Comment your faves below!

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#slayer4life

 

 

Iced Crack

And by “iced crack” I mean cold-brewed coffee! Cold brew is all the rage right now, and for very good reason. For those of us who like their coffee very milky *raises hand*, it is an elixir from heaven. No joke, I can drink this stuff black with no sugar. When I finally perfected making this, I drank so much of it I barely slept for a week. My fiancé says that I have ruined him for all other coffees. He calls it “Fig-proof”, as in, he can’t possibly screw it up, no matter what he does to it or puts in it. You can find recipes for cold brew anywhere on the internet (Pinterest is a lifesaver), but if you’re reading this and you haven’t yet tried to make this at home, DO IT and stop paying $3+ a cup to get it at Starbucks!

Here’s my method.

Preparation:

Supplies
Supplies

You’ll need whole bean coffee in your favorite blend, quart sized mason jars (or a gallon jug, whatever), and a coffee grinder. A funnel is optional, but encouraged. I like to buy my coffee in bulk, since I make this cold brew every 2-3 days. Trader Joe’s has a great selection of inexpensive, quality coffees. Costco is another great place to get bulk whole bean coffee in brands like Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Grind your beans to a slightly coarser grind than you would for auto-drip coffee. Not as coarse as a French press, not as fine as espresso. Eyeball it.

The golden cold brew ratio is 1 cup ground coffee to 4 cups cold, filtered water (or .25 cups coffee to 1 cup water if you’re making batches smaller than a quart). This might as well be printed in the Bible. You can go stronger, but you’ll just end up diluting your prepared drink more later.

Halfway there.
Halfway there.

Measure your coffee, grind it up, and add it to your water. This is where the funnel comes in handy. I’ve wasted so much precious coffee by spilling it all over my counters. I like to use mason jars to steep my cold brew because they have measurements on the sides, and I’m all about reducing the amount of dishes used in any given meal prep.

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After you finagle the grounds into the jar, then comes the fun part. Screw on a lid (I like these Ball brand plastic storage caps as they don’t rust, are dishwasher safe, and come in wide-mouth and regular size) and shake it like a Polaroid picture or James Bond’s martini. Dance while you do it!

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Blouse is Zara via Buffalo Exchange.

IMG_8751Let it sit for 12-24 hours. I usually make mine in the evenings and strain it before work in the morning. The straining is the tough part. This took me a while to perfect. Finally, I consulted the Pinterest oracle and learned that cheesecloth is the way to do it. I have heard that nut milk bags work beautifully.

I place a mesh strainer, lined with a small piece of cheesecloth, over a 2qt or larger pitcher. I agitate the jars one last time so that the grounds don’t come out in one giant clump, and slowly pour it out through the strainer and into the pitcher.


Another method, which I use semi-frequently, is to pour your cold brew and grounds into a French press and strain them that way. When I use this method, I still like to pour the coffee through the cheesecloth so that the finished product isn’t cloudy.There’s no way to completely avoid sediment in your cold brew, but it sinks to the bottom of the container so it doesn’t interfere with the overall coffee experience.

Serving:

As soon as the cold brew has been strained, it’s ready to drink! It will come out slightly stronger than regular iced coffee, so I recommend diluting it slightly with filtered water. Most sites say a 2:1 coffee to water ratio, but I use slightly less water, as my coffee only steeps for 12 hours and I take it with ice, which dilutes the mixture over time. Apart from the dilution, prepare your cup exactly as you would any other cup of coffee. My absolute favorite way to take it is with unsweetened almond milk and all-natural maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.

 

All of the almond milk, all the time.

Happy brewing!

-DellaBites

 

Currently enjoying my cold brew on break at work with some Trader Joe’s goodies.