Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (Y and Z)

Y is for "Young at Heart" and Z is for "Zoo"
Bai Yun - San Diego Zoo panda

I am totally a kid a heart (and sometimes that kid is let out to play a little more than perhaps I should allow) - tossing aside a paintbrush to use my fingers instead, smiling from ear to ear no matter who is taking my picture, wanting to lie out and play in the grass on a bright sunny day and wanting to pet any animal that walks by. 

Feeding a giraffe at JAX zoo
Which brings me to zoos. I LOVE zoos. Doesn't matter what zoo. Doesn't matter how big or how small. If there are animals I want to go. And if I can touch or interact with them WATCH OUT. Because there is no holding me back. 

When I lived in San Diego I had yearly memberships to the San Diego Zoo (which was only about a 10 minute drive from my apartment). Family in town? Let's go to the zoo. Sunny weekend off work? Let's go to the zoo. A day that ends in "Y"? Let's go to the zoo. 

Me and Kutai at the Oregon Zoo
I haven't bought a membership to the Oregon Zoo (yet) but have gone more times than I can count at this point. 

Heck, my week in Jacksonville I made time to go to their Zoo and get the idea.

If you want to make me happy. Take me to a day at the zoo....really you could just plant me in front of the Great Apes and I'd be the happiest girl on earth; I wouldn't even have to SEE the other animals and I'd be nice and content.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

A to Z (All About Me) (X)

X is for X marks the spot!!

Okay so this one was a stretch. I've never broken a bone so it's not like I could share an x-ray with you...and I don't play the xylophone so what else was I going to do. 

So one "bonding" activity my mother and I have is going to old cemeteries together. I just love the sense of calm, the beauty of the old stylized headstones, the thrill of seeing who can find the oldest tombstone. Haha.

Sometime last year we found out that Virgil Earp (older brother to Wyatt Earp) was buried here in Oregon. So my mother and I were out on a mission to find him. Took us twice and finally using a GPS but we did it!!

The Week S.O.F.A.R

Dove Does it Again: Campaign Against Negative Advertising - an application for FB that allows negative ads directed at hating "muffin tops", "jelly rolls" etc and turning them into body positive love.

The Ad Makeover - a link to the (above) Dove App. Not yet available in the United States.

Catcalling men targeted by new girl power team - Hollaback is an amazing organization and now it's also an amazing app!!

Turning 30: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know - oh boy. Trust me I'll be commenting on this one soon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (W)

W is for Waiting.

"Waiting for the World to Change"

Music Video

Choreographed dance from So You Think You Can Dance

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (V)

V is for "Visitor"

And I'm hoping to have a special visitor not my "Aunt Flow"....someone I've been wanting to see for some time now. But I don't want to spoil the surprise or let us all down by spilling the beans too early. 

You'll just have to wait. ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (U)

U is for "Unity in Diversity"

For me, and the simple way to explain, this is a simple idea that to unify ourselves (as a state, as a country, as the human race) is to embrace and recognize the difference and diversity amongst us. Until we can open our eyes and our hearts and embrace these differences we'll never be able to truly work together towards any common goals.

Actually, Unity in Diversity is what I have my BA in...."Unity in Diversity: The Historical and Cultural Studies of Spirituality"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (T)

T is for Tourist

I love playing "tourist" in my own town. Yes, it can be bothersome having "real" tourists everywhere but why shouldn't I be able to enjoy everything Portland has to offer as well? 

When I moved here (2 1/2 years ago) I created a "Bucket List" of Portland (area) things I wanted to do before I left (whenever that might be). 

Some of my favorite "tourist" spots that I've been to so far are:

Multnomah Falls
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Japanese Garden
Oregon Zoo
The Big Pink Tour
Departure (restaurant)

And while I have 30+ spots to still tackle I will be marking a few more off shortly:

Going to an Oregon Casino (next month we'll be celebrating my sisters' birthdays at Chinook Winds) and the Sea Lion Caves. 

Do you have a favorite "Tourist Spot" in your town that you can't help but love?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (S)

S is for Spring has Sprung

I'm so excited for these last few days of sun and beautiful weather we've had in Portland. 

My flowers are blooming (although this does also result in, the cherry blossom trees are snowing pink and white petals everywhere and the sun feels so nice when a cool breeze comes up off the rivers. Perfect season for adventures and exploring on the weekends, picnics and family potlucks.

Thank you Spring. 
I've been waiting for you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What's So Amazing about Ryan Gosling?

Okay before anyone starts coming after me with torches and pitchforks let me just say this is an honest question and I'm not trying to diss the man. I really just don't understand. 

Yes, he seems to be a decent human being stopping fights from happening and women from being hit by taxis...I get it Ryan Gosling = Good Guy. I know in a world where we're more accustomed to the Charlie Sheens, Chris Browns and the Kardashians we all become abit shell shocked and amazed when famous people act know regular people. 

But I still don't get it. Is it because I've never seen any of his films? Am I missing some screen-to-audience hypnotisim trick he's played on society? 

Or maybe it's because I prefer brunettes? Yes he's handsome but then he is a leading man.

I ask because I feel like every time I turn around someone is blogging, tweeting or FB posting about the man and I'm just wondering what I'm not getting....????

A to Z - All About Me (R)

R is for Romantic

I don't like to call myself a "hopeless" romantic but I don't like to think that romance is a hopeless ideal. 

But give me a candle lit dinner for two, holding hands walking down the street, flowers just because any day...but romance (to me) is also remembering I mentioned that tulips are my favorite or that I've always wanted to picnic under the stars or even that I don't like butter on my peanut butter toast. 

Romance comes in all shapes and sizes and matter the package (and I don't mean gift wrapped) I'll take it. Romance is what you make of it and even a simple "I love you" just because might brighten your special someone's day.

The Week S.O.F.A.R.

12 Problems Only Busty Girls Have - get a chance to see more of the cartoons that I didn't include in the blog I wrote expanding this list.

Up with Chris Hayes interview with Miss Representation director - embedded this in a blog but here's the original link.

Military Finally Steps Up Its Handling of Sexual Assault Cases

Do We, As Plus-Size Women, Want Nice Things? - My answer was Damn Skippy!

10 Reasons Why I Don't Shop at Your Plus Size Store or Site - For me it usually comes down to 1) the sizes aren't accurate and 2) the material is awful!

Curvy Actress Yvette Nicole Brown Talks About Size Discrimination

The Grimm Truth About Romantic Comedies - 'Contemporary romantic comedies build on the foundation laid by fairytales and on that admirable moral about where true beauty lies, and use them to romanticize unhealthy relationships. The fairytale moral is, "don't judge a book by its cover." The romantic comedy version is, "don't judge a man by his behavior."'

Starts without retouching - "Celebrities are retouched beyond recognition for ads and magazine covers and we hate it."

ABC hints at the B-word in 2 new shows about women 

Miss Representation available on DVD - buy it for $20 off this link, buy/rent it on iTunes or borrow it from Netflix.   

Soeren Palumbo's R-word Speech - Spread the Word to End the Word 

Friday, April 20, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (Q)

Q is for Quest

A quest for what you might ask? 
Good Mexican food and Chinese food. 

Don't get me wrong. Portland has amazing food. It's a foodies delight. However, while I have found sushi, burgers, pizza, Thai, Southern Creole/Cajun, Vietnamese, BBQ and everything in between I have not found what I would call "GOOD" Mexican or Chinese food. 

Now let me clear up two things. 

1) Being a SoCal native and being used to REAL Mexican food (read: restaurants that do NOT use instant rice, do not try to pass store bought off as "homemade" and have burgers on the menu for the gringos). I've tried Por Que No? (and they did have good street tacos but they didn't exactly hit the spot)...and will admit I haven't gotten a chance to do any of the carts. I'm guessing they are my best shot at what I'm looking for. 

So if you have Portland area recommendations PLEASE send them my way.

2) I have found good AUTHENTIC Chinese food (hot pots, dim sum, and steamed pork buns) and most days this is what I want but sometimes what you want is fried/greasy Americanized Chinese food. Chow mein, egg rolls, orange chicken...this is what I'm on a quest for. We thought we'd found a few spots but for whatever reasons their recipes have changed and the food either now all tastes the same (when you can't tell the difference between orange and sesame chicken there's a problem). 

So again, if you have a Portland area recommendation PLEASE send it my way.

Fill in the Blank Friday

So as I was reading through some of the blogs I follow I noticed two of my reads (Carelessly Graceful and Joslin as Mrs. Williams) both had the same "Fill in the Blank Friday". 

Seven simple questions. Seems to require the level of mental skills I have today. haha.

1. Today is a great day's Ladies Night!! Hanging out with friends over burgers and beer!

2. Tomorrow I will...recuperating from Ladies Night. haha....well that since Portland is predicting sun and warm weather, we'll be getting together with the family that just moved to town...

3. My favorite time of day is...Friday late afternoon. I'm watching the clock tick away...minutes...seconds before the weekend starts.....

4. Sometimes you just have to...DANCE with yourself

5. A song that I just can't get enough of lately is...

6. My favorite accessory's a toss up between purses and shoes. I have an addiction to both....but if I had to pick one.....eek....

7. My favorite thing about this week was... hosting two amazing Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, including another rocking showing of Miss Representation

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (P)

P is for Pin Up

If you've been following my blog (or know me as a person) you may be aware I have a thing for pin-ups. However, what you may not know is that the interest is on many levels. 

There's the interest in the history of pin-up girls being a phenomenia as early as the late 1890s, through the World Wars and the way it has (for good or bad) into the centerfold models we know today. 
There's the evolution of the "pin-up fashion" becoming accessible to anyone and the emergence of a sub-culture of modern (everyday) pin-up girls. 

There's the fashion itself (which I just love) and the exciting challenge of adapting it into my plus-size wardrobe. 

I even love that no two pin-ups are alike. It's not just an external image or appearance but there's also an inner confidence and attitude of empowerment that (self/world) proclaimed pin-up girls have.

And really let's not forget the sex appeal factor. Because who of us doesn't love to feel sexy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (O)

O is for Oregon

I've lived in Oregon for 2 1/2 years now and while I don't know if I'll grow roots here or how long I'll stay I've definitely started to consider Oregon home. I'm sure I've felt this way for a while, but recently I spent a weekend in Redlands (for a reunion meeting) and then not long afterwards a week in Jacksonville (for a conference). Both times, as the planes started to break through the clouds and I could see the city of Portland below me, I remember sighing with relief and having this sense of "I'm happy to be home."
I think part of this feeling - this finally starting to feel "at home" - is not only because I'm pretty determined to explore and familiarize myself with this town but also because I have more and more loved ones in the area.

I know have my mother, both sisters, an aunt, cousin, niece and two good friends who all live in the area (or at least the Greater PNW). And there's a possibility of even more loved ones heading to the Rose City. Perhaps roots, even if they aren't permanent, are already being established. 

I may always be a SoCal girl at heart but I'm holding my own as an Oregonian.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Miss Representation Interviews

Last night I showed (for the second time) Miss Representation. It's a wonderful documentary about how media portrays women and the detrimental affects it has on both little girls and boys.

Today, when I got to work one of my students, who attended the event last night, emailed me this Up with Chris Hayes interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom; and I had to share. 

A to Z - All About Me (N)

N is for "Not Ready to Make Nice"

I sat here contemplating and thinking and debating what "N" would be today. So I thought instead of a "word" that described me I'd share a song that really stirs emotions inside of me.

For those who don't know the back story of this 2003 vocalist Natalie Maines was quoted (during a concert I believe) that she was ashamed that President George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas. The Dixie Chicks were dropped from radio stations, their songs plumited down on the charts, they received numerous hate mail and death threats.

This song was the ladies response to the madness that spun around them.

I wouldn't consider myself a "country music fan" (although there are a number of songs/artists I do enjoy) but the reason this song means so much to me...sending goosebumps down my arms and bringing a tear to my because it is such an empowering song about standing up for what you believe. For now bowing down to pressure and caving in to doing what others think you should.

Lyrics like,
"I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don't mind sayin'
It's a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger"

Still can ring so true today with the nations fighting and struggling pre-election mood. Instead of uniting together to do what's best for each other and ourselves mud slinging and hate are thrown everywhere instead.

It makes me sad for this country and at the same time stokes a fire deep inside of me to make things better and stand up for what I believe in.

Am I Awful?

So I was indulging in Pinterest today, an addiction I admit, just trying to kill time before a presentation I had to give for work (we'll call this Pinterest play my "dinner break").

Anyway, my boards are everything from food (appetizers, savory and sweet treats), items for the home/bedroom/kitchen, DIY projects, pin-ups, ink (tattoos), my style of fashion, etc etc. 

I pin a wide variety of things. And I tend to "follow all" of my friends boards - whether I really am interested in it or not (farming tips, their favorite unicorn pictures, etc) because I just never know when something might get pinned that I fall in love with and have to have/do/buy/make. 

Everything that is (and this is where the question Am I Awful? comes in) but two exceptions....

Weddings and Babies.

It's not that I'm against either of those things. I hope to have both of those in my future. However, the last thing I want to see when I'm bored and mindlessly pinning is boards named "When I Say I Do", "One Day in White", "Bun in the Oven" and/or "Preggers"

I'm sure when it comes time for me to plan a wedding or have a baby I'll use Pinterest for a source of inspiration. But I guess, for now, I see pinning these as just reminding me what I don't have in my life. 

I think what gets me the most is seeing this from people I know are not engaged and/or pregnant.

I realize Pinterest is (in it's own way) a "waste of time" but why waste even more time by pinning and pine over things/items/DIYideas that aren't relevant to your life? 

Please feel free to enlighten me if you do this and can explain to me why.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (M)

M is for Morgan

No this isn't  a cop-out answer. Today I figured I'd tell you about my namesake.

Morgan is one of my mother's dear friends. The way my mom always describes her is "Morgan is one of the most talented women I know." She plays more musical instruments than I can count, is an amazing costuming goddess (aka seamstress), dances, acts, etc.....the list is just never ending.

So when I was born my mother refused to let me father name me (read: Cinderelli and for those of you who don't know me. Let's just say that would rhyme with my last name) and went with Morgan.

Let's Stay Together/It Won't Be Long

The BF and I have been in a long distance relationship for...well forever....or at least it feels that way. Phone calls, texts, emails and the few and far between visit just doesn't do it sometimes. Doesn't matter how hard you work on staying connected being long distance is hard and you really have to work together to stay together.

I've had a number of friends (who have also been in LDR) advise on how important it is to have an "End Date"....meaning at some point one of you needs to move closer to the other and/or relocate together. And the BF and I have talked about this. About how I'd really like to stay in my current job (at least) another year and the possibilities of him moving to Oregon.

That's why I was so glad when he said how even though Portland had never really been on his list of "go-to" places, he really enjoyed his time here in February and wants to spend more time here exploring. Muahaha my plan worked... Portland = Fun AND has me to boot! Whooo! Hopefully it won't be long until we're together and in the same place again.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paula Dean Disappoints Me

Now when I say Paula "disappointed" me...I don't mean "Paula" as a person. Rather more a magazine. Recently I tried a Chocolate Pecan Crumble from her Paula Dean's magazine (Quick & Easy Meals) and this is what happened:

Don't believe the cover. I don't think she'd be smiling if she made the mess I'm about to show you.

Flour, sugar, cocoa powder...all looks normal right?

But then it had me poor the "brownie" mix into melted butter (above) and NOT mix it in.

And then you pour "boiling" water over the cocoa powder "crumble"...WTF??

And in the end it looked greasy/oily and just gross. It tasted okay - especially with vanilla ice cream

In the end it looked just awful....and I HIGHLY doubt that anyone in the Paula Dean kitchen test ran this before putting it in the magazine.

The Week S.O.F.A.R.

Healthy Sexuality: A Guide for Advocates, Counselors and Prevention Educators. You don't HAVE to be any of these three to benefit from this guide that addresses "Sexuality Through the Life Span", "Shifting Gender Norms and Preventing Discrimination" and many more resources.

Old Man in Nursing Home Reacts to Music From His Era - Never underestimate the power of music. 

A Transgender Win for Miss Universe - Never thought I'd say this but "Yay Trump!"

Also, if you haven't "Liked" Caution! Reality Check's facebook page yet you missed amazing things like this:

When you’re a plus size woman, people like to say "yeah, she's cute in the face", as if being full figured is such a disgrace. Honey, I’m cute in the face, and I’m thick in the waist. I look good whether I’m in cotton, leather, or lace. I’m beautiful, vibrant and above all, smart! And there's more to me than my weight, I also have a heart. Yes my clothes maybe a bigger size, that just means you have access to a bigger prize. We all are not self-conscious about our weight, and we never have a problem getting a date. So don’t think your small frame gives you more pull, I’m a hot, sexy, curvy woman with a figure that's full. ♥


Gorgeous Katie Halchishick – co-founder of Healthy is the New Skinny and the Perfectly Unperfected Project – holds a Barbie doll in the November issue of O. Dotted lines indicate what would have to be cut away in order for her to have Barbie’s body. Curves is the real beauty.

So what are you waiting for? Go here and "Like" for so much more. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Searching for Onion Marmalade

So I have this giant bag of sweet vidalia onions sitting at home and while I'm planning on making French Onion Soup this week that won't use them all up. 

My mother had the idea of making Onion Marmalade - for having in salads, on sandwiches, with grilled chicken, etc. Trouble is I've never made an Onion Marmalade...or any kind of marmalade I have no idea where to begin. 

I've looked online and of course was overwhelmed by the thousands of recipes. But I want something someone I know has tried before, it doesn't even have to be someone I "KNOW" can be anyone but I want them to say "Try my recipe. It's the best because....."

So yes. If you are know of an Onion Marmalade recipe please pass it my way. 

Happy Eating.

Fashion Friday: Busty Girl Problems

Today on Facebook The Curvy Fashionista (re)posted a piece called "12 Problems That Only Busty Girls Have". I have to agree with (almost) every single one of them....damnit!

1. The Surprise Stain (although to have the image be more accurate it would a) either have fallen out of the sloppy joe and landed on top of her "shelf" ...boobs...or b) shown her at home hours later confused as to when the stain got on her stomach...because seeing past our boobs is usually an issue)

2. The Counter Dilemma (I remember Grandma saying it wasn't polite to put your elbows on the table but she never mentioned hoisting the girls up there)

3. Airplane Turbulence (That has to be some serious turbulence or a really bad bra...but yes they do jiggle in circumstances that normally don't for smaller boobs).

4. The Motorboating Proposition (I don't know if I've had someone ask to motorboat them but I do have a friend that does something similar...more like a fish/shark tail. Replace mouth with hand)

5. The Built-in Bra Issue (This is just too funny. Please a "built-in bra" not gonna happen)

6. The Shoulder Strap Attack (You mean God didn't give me this much cleavage just to put a duffel bag strap through? Huh?)

7. The Dishwashing Dilemma (This also happens in the bathroom when washing my face. Doesn't matter if there's a towel there or not. Water all over the boobs I might as well enter a wet t-shirt contest)

8. Ye Old "Boob Spillage" (They grow hands what can I say. My boobs are against me)

9. Simply Folding Your Arms (I have to admit. I don't remember the last time I was able to simply "fold" my arms across me "chest")

10. Ruffles (Oh, I don't go there that often for the reason that I might as well be wearing a sign that says "Look at My Tits"....Ruffles can "hide" them sometimes but usually it's a flashing neon sign)

11. Suspenders (I've never tried suspenders to be honest. But just looking at this image...this is probably why I haven't)

12. Stairs (I have to practically lean forward at a 45 degree angle just to see my feet and the stairs. There's a reason I don't run up/down stairs...this and reference see below)

*               *                 *

These are great (in that so true it's sadly funny) but just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few I'd like to add to the list.

13. Running. I mean really running. Doesn't matter if I'm in a sports bra, strapped down with binding or holding them in place. Running just doesn't happen. Aside from the fact I'd be afraid of smacking myself in the face (or someone else) it just plain hurts to run. See "Airplane Turbulence" image.

14. Shirt Shopping. When your boobs are one shirt size and your shoulders/stomach/waist are all a different size it makes shopping "interesting" to say the least. I usually have to grab the same shirt in a few sizes to see which one fits the best - but doesn't pucker around the buttons or hang too much everywhere else. Pain in the ass. Let me tell you. 

15. Hugs. You would think this wouldn't be a big deal right? It's just a hug right? Well mostly the hugging becomes a problem when you're trying to hug another big busted person. You turn slightly to the side to prevent squishing and/or to try and get arms around each other. 

Then of course there's the slight, casual, pat on the back hug you give to someone you feel you should hug. It's hard enough to do that without then pushing your boobs up against them. AWKWARD. 

16. PAIN. Upper back pain. Lower back pain. Shoulder pain.  Knee pain. You name it big boobs can cause it. 

17. The Jokes. Oh no, the "melon", "pillows", "basketball" jokes never grow old...It's like I've never heard "nice melons" before....

These are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. What would you add?

A to Z - All About Me (L)

L is for "Little Weird"

So we touched on the fact my family (and I) are drawn a bit towards the macabre when discussing my favorite holiday being Halloween.

Lots of people like Halloween though right? Well how many people also have over a dozen facebook albums of cemeteries?

Wishes they drove a hearse?

 Go out of the way to take their picture with strange roadside attractions?

Will "go to the bathroom" at a coffee house for the sole purpose of taking a picture of the feet hanging in the ceiling?

Buy their sister a perfume for Christmas not because it's her favorite but because it's supposed to smell like "Funeral Home"?

Speaking of Funeral Homes...who else thinks this is HILARIOUS!!??

Oh and did I mention my obsession with documenting the fun and crazy Porn Store names in Portland even though I've never gone in?

So. Yea. That's me. Takes photos of cemeteries, porn shops and anything that leans towards the bizarre.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (K)

K is for Kodachrome


Okay so this isn't about Paul Simon (although I do <3 him). This is about Photography. And I figured "P is for Photography" was a little obvious - so I went with a bit more playful. 

Photography and I have an interesting relationship. Well Art and I have a complex relationship to say the least. 

I've been doing art for...gosh my whole life...and some of the pieces (whether photography, painting or collage) I think are pretty good....and have had friends/family tell me they are too. 

But I've never considered myself an "Artist"...maybe an "artist" but even that feels funny. I'm not sure what quantifies and/or qualifies someone as an artist but I've just never had that relationship with the term. 

I consider myself artistic! But I see that as different. 

However, for today's letter I thought I'd share some of my pieces with you. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A to Z - All About Me (J)

There were so many kiddos
J is for Joshua Tree

Growing up in Southern California we spent more weekends, solstices/equinoxes and summers out at Joshua Tree than I can remember. We have a good family friend that owns a large pieces of land that bumps right up to where the park begins - so much so that when I was younger there really wasn't a "fence" dividing the properties and we easily wondered back and forth. 

House they "left" me at.
One of my favorite Joshua Tree stories is one from when I was a newborn. My mother and father took me out to one of the homes of friends, put me on their doorstep and played "ding-dong-ditch" (as a joke of course - not ACTUALLY abandoning me). Little did my parents expect for them to open the door, look down at the baby, bring me indoor and lock the door behind them (not letting my parents in). Haha. Don't give away the baby unless you mean it apparently was the message. 
Joshua Tree

This is just one of many memories I have of the desert - building medicine wheels, falling asleep beside the firepit, on a lawnchair, as live rock'n'roll plays. 

Nothing says "Spiritual Home" more to me than tall Joshua Trees standing against a red setting sun.

While I do enjoy the cooler weather and greeness of Portland...there are times I can't help but long for hot summer nights out in the California desert.