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Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

I just applied to the planDisney panel. This is something I’ve done annually for the past few years. I’ve made it to round 3 in the past but I’ve never gone all the way. But here I am again, applying with the hope that this is the year. I don’t give up. Why do I keep trying you may be asking? Here is our Disney origin story and why I’m applying to the planDisney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Well, I LOVE Disney. Like truly, maybe too much, genuinely love Walt Disney World and Disney Studios and everything Disney. It has been a HUGE part of my happily ever after. You see, on my very first trip (I was a poor kid so I didn’t get to make these magical memories as a child. Disney was the dream but I knew it was something I’d have to take the initiative to attain on my own) was for our honeymoon. I’m sure I’ve shared this story here before in some capacity but here it goes again.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

This is our Disney origin story

I met the Big Guy in college. He comes from a perfectly nice, middle-class American family from the suburbs. They did things like travel to Disney World and stay at the Grand Floridian. His grandmother traveled the world and went on African Safaris, danced the tango in Spain and had roots in the Black Forest. I was what they affectionately refer to as a “region rat” (IYKYK). Yes, we’re everywhere. I even met a fellow Region Rat working at the Yacht Club and hey, Bob Chapek is one too so don’t turn your nose up at the region. My point is that I’m a first-generation freckled Mexibilly from the Chicagoland area who grew up in an urban area surrounded by fellow minorities and was raised by two Catholic parents (6 kids) and one factory worker’s blue-collar salary. All of our “vacation” money went to travel to see our grandparents in Tennessee and Mexico. No matter how much we wished for Disney, it was not feasible for us.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

So I met this cute, funny, tall, smart guy from the suburbs and he had this very normal, idyllic childhood and when we got married he only had 3 requests.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

 1) we walk into the reception to the Star Wars theme

2) he either got to lick my face at the altar (instead of the proposed demure, closed-mouth kiss in front of 300 of our closest family and friends at our high noon full wedding mass or he got to shove my wedding cake into my face Mexican style (both of which I was vehemently opposed). I ultimately chose to sacrifice our first Mr. and Mrs. kiss in lieu of a face full of cake.

3) This was his number 1 request; we honeymoon at Walt Disney World.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Everything else was my fairy tale wedding.

Not going to lie, I was not thrilled at the idea of spending my honeymoon running around a theme park. This is not how I expected our Disney origin story began. I wanted either Europe or a tropical island somewhere filled with lazy days on the beach frolicking in the sand while sipping mojitos with my beloved but the Big Guy wanted to share the world with me, via a mouse. I was super in love and totally agreed because it didn’t matter where we went, as long as we were together. 

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Long story slightly shorter (it’s not lost on me that it’s still pretty damn long and I’m not even halfway through), everything was club level, 5–star and surprisingly romantic. YES, holding hands, walking on white sand beaches, kissing under the stars, watching fireworks wrapped in his arms and sipping champagne and eating dessert like calories didn’t exist. It felt like everything I ever wanted on my honeymoon, even if it didn’t look like it. In those 8 days, I grew closer and fell deeper in love with the Big Guy as he shared his magical place with me. Even though there were thousands of people around, it felt intimate and special like it existed just for the two of us. In those moments, Walt Disney World became “our magical place” and I wanted that magic to last forever so we went back every chance we got (get). This is one of the reasons why I’m applying to the planDIsney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

We ended up being “those” people. The obnoxious people who couldn’t stop touting the wonders and magic of WDW. We tried to convince everyone we knew that they needed to go because, we believe, everyone does need to go and often. Who doesn’t want magic and happiness in their life? We’d go with friends. We’d go ourselves. We didn’t care, it just made us feel happy every single time. That’s part of the magic, the nostalgia of feeling like you’re 4 years old and there’s not a worry in the world. It’s just pure, unadulterated joy…unless you let it stress you out and overwhelm you, in which case, some of the magic is dulled. Just go there with a tentative plan and an open heart and mind and you will not be disappointed. If you’ve been, you know.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Fast forward a few years (and all of our friends and family coming to us for insider tips on planning their Disney trips) and we expanded the Disney lovers club by 2 (our two daughters, Bella and Gabs). We’d been in our twenties, we’d been with friends and family, we’d stayed at all levels of resorts, all times of the year on all different kinds of budgets and every single trip was different. WDW is 1000% a choose-your-own-adventure and every single trip is sprinkled with its own kind of pixie dust and filled with a different kind of magic.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Then we went as parents and I’m not sure how but somehow, the magic was even greater experiencing it through the eyes of our two favorite human beings. Our first trip as a family of four was when the girls were 3 and 5 years old and my heart swelled up so big that I was sure I would die from happiness.

That trip was full of oohs and aahs and wonder, the kind that can only be experienced from the princess chair revealed from Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you’ve ever gotten to see your child’s face when that happens, you know that it is a feeling beyond words and unlike anything else. It is palpable joy. And that was it for us. We’ve gone every year since, sometimes twice.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

The girls are teenagers now. Bella’s about to go away to college next year and her biggest dream is to join the Disney College Program and eventually, become a Disney imaginer. That’s her dream. She wants to be a part of the magic for other families and I get it.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Our family of four has always been one that does everything together. That’s one thing our two very different families did the same. We eat our meals together, we travel together and we share our good times, our bad times and our magical times.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel

Love is like that; someone to share everything with. Disney puts an exclamation point on the love and togetherness for us and I suspect, it always will.

This is our Disney origin story and why I’m applying to the planDisney panel.

Disney Origin Story, Why I'm Applying to the PlanDisney Panel
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A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

You know in the end, all any of us really ever want is to look back and see a life well-lived with no regrets and a lot of great stories and memories spent with the people we love. We will be remembered for how we made people feel; the way we made them smile, laugh out loud, gave them hope when they were down, encouragement when they needed it, held their hand when they were lonely, loved when they felt unlovable and respected and admired in our actions. Thoughts are nice and kind words gas us up but what really matters is not what people say in their lifetime but what they do with the one life they are given. I want to be remembered for making others feel loved, cared for and like they mattered. I want my funeral to be a celebration of all the good I put into the world, of the life I lived not crying and sadness. I want people to laugh and smile through tears retelling funny and endearing stories of a life well lived.

We just lost my husband’s grandmother, she was 92 years old. Her sister, Maxine, is 95. These are two of the most vivacious women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. They’ve inspired me to suck every last ounce of marrow out of life because whether you are 50, 75 or 95, the consensus is that we always feel young in our hearts so why should we stop living to our fullest when our hearts and minds are still all in? That’s why we need to take care of ourselves so that we can enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

Colleen, known to us as GiGi, was my husband’s grandmother. I met her when I was 25 years old. She was almost 70 when I met her but she will always be one of the most animated, big personalities I’ve ever known. She laughed at her own jokes, and loved to dance and sip cocktails while telling stories. She traveled the world. She was a mom, a wife, a grandmother, a great grandmother and yes, in her lifetime, a great-great-grandmother. She had lots of friends and did lots of things that most people only dream of. She knew, probably after she lost her first husband in her 40s, that life is not guaranteed and why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

She was never afraid to say what was on her mind. Things were not left unsaid. She was kind to me and welcoming and her smile cut through whatever confusion and bullshit that might have been happening at the moment. She really didn’t sweat the small stuff at all. That was someone else’s problem. I sort of envied her that because I always seem to be wrapped up in the minutia, the day-to-day triviality of life sometimes so much so that I can’t see clear of the noise; making it almost impossible to breathe and be present.

She could be so vivacious and elegant but when my girls were around, there was nothing she wouldn’t do. I can’t tell you how my heart filled when I watched as she and her older sister (in their 80s at the time) would casually and without hesitation dress up as princesses and play with my toddlers. It was like a time machine back and forth simultaneously and it was beautiful and meaningful in ways that we don’t often get to experience. But I only had 25 short years with her. There was a lifetime of living before she came into my life.

In the end, she battled dementia and failing health. The last time I saw her was in the spring for her birthday. We all went to a local Mexican restaurant (her favorite) and as she sat there in her wheelchair with her frail 90-pound body, holding a margarita that was almost as big as her head, in and out of lucidity, she smiled and I saw her, that familiar, just out of reach face of the woman I met that Christmas 25 years ago.

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller

My emotions are mixed because while we are all sad to no longer have her with us, Alzheimer’s had started pulling her away from us years ago. There were good days and there were bad days. Some days she remembered who we were and some days she was confused and afraid because we were strangers in her room. All the days she loved us, in photos and memories she just couldn’t always recognize us in the now because depending on the day, she remembered us differently. It was hard to watch her disappear. It was heartbreaking to see the woman who was once so big and full of life, so frail, meek and tiny. And while our hearts are breaking, we take comfort in knowing that she is somewhere laughing, dancing, sipping a margarita, regaling the love of her life with all the stories he missed of her life well lived.

A life well lived, Colleen Marilyn Beck Fuller
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Getting on a motorcycle and going for a ride on the open road is such an immense and amazing feeling. There’s nothing quite as free feeling as riding your motorcycle (or riding on the back of a motorcycle) down an empty stretch of road on a summer’s day and enjoying the scenery around you.

When you next go on a vacation, you might think you need to take your car or rent one. But what if you took a motorcycle with you on a summer adventure vacation? I’d imagine it would feel a lot like flying.

If you’re on the fence about whether that’s a good idea or not, the following five reasons will likely convince you that your two-wheeled transport is perfect for your vacation:

1. It’s Cheap

The first reason to get on your motorcycle and go on vacation with it is how it’s a cheap way to get around. Motorbikes are lightweight and therefore use less gas than cars, so your transport costs will be significantly lower than driving or renting a car.

Most modern motorcycles offer excellent gas mileage, meaning you won’t have to keep stopping at gas stations to fill up along the way.

2. It’s Less Stressful Than Driving A Car

If you only really drive a car these days, you might think a motorcycle vacation might be stressful and even potentially dangerous in comparison.

You may even have thought about a motorbike vacation before, yet asked yourself questions like where do most motorcycle accidents occur? The truth is, you’ll find two-wheeled transport less stressful on any vacation than a four-wheeled alternative.

That’s because, as a car driver, you have to consider things like finding parking spaces, driving down narrow streets, worries about damaged paintwork, and so on.

3. You Won’t Get Caught In Traffic

One super-stressful situation that many people experience during a vacation is getting caught up in traffic. If you’re planning to visit a busy town or city, you will likely encounter queues of vehicles that will inevitably delay your journeys by road.

Sure, you could just use public transport instead of driving a vehicle. But, you want the freedom and flexibility which using your own transport offers.

A perfect way to avoid queues of traffic is with two wheels. That’s because you can easily weave in and out of traffic and get to your destinations quickly and easily.

4. You’ll Experience More Of The World Around You

When you drive a car to places on your vacations, one thing you will notice is how restrictive you can feel despite the freedom and flexibility that using your own transport offers.

However, if you use a motorcycle on your vacations, you can go off-road, for example, and end up in remote, picturesque locations where even 4×4 cars struggle to traverse.

5. It’s Fun

One final point to keep in mind is that motorcycle vacations are fun! You could even go on camping holidays and take everything you need on your motorcycle.

Getting on your bike and hitting the open road offers unlimited potential for fun as you can stay or go anywhere without worrying about passengers or where to park, etc.

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4 Things You Should Pack for Any Summer Travel Plans

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Summer is the perfect time to explore the world around you while enjoying the good weather. Summer is my favorite time of year because it’s the time I get to satiate my wanderlust. With summer finally here, like me, you may be making travel plans. But for you to have the best summer vacation, you need to have the right things in your travel bags. Nope, I don’t mean all those extra outfits you packed in your checked bag that you’ll absolutely never wear. I’m talking about these 4 things you should pack for any summer travel plans. Of course, travel activities and destinations may vary, but as long as they are during any summer season, you should add the following four things to your packing list. 

4 Things You Should Pack For Any Summer Travel

Shoulder bag or handbag

You can’t go on any summer trip without a handbag or shoulder bag. A bag not only helps you look stylish and adds to your look, but it also keeps all your stuff safe while you go about your activities during your vacation. I would be lost without my KAVU bag at Disney World. The type of handbag or shoulder bag to choose really depends on your style and what the functionality of the bag will be. There are different bag types and collections like STAUD bags to choose from. But the most important thing is that it’s durable enough to withstand the rigors of your travel, spacious enough to hold your phones and gadgets, and stylish enough to keep you looking chic. 

Cool fabrics

You want to enjoy the summer sun, but you want to do so while staying as cool as possible. So, regardless of what clothes you pack for your summer trip, make sure that they come in fabrics that can keep you as cool as possible. The best are natural, breathable and cotton. Synthetic fabrics will have you sweating your brains off and absolutely miserable.Some of the best summer fabrics that can prevent needless heat include cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, denim (especially for pants or shorts), nylon, and silk, to mention a few. These fabrics will help you avoid sweat patches that aren’t only uncomfortable but may also lead to minor skin issues like heat rash and other forms of sweat irritation. This may be the most important of the 4 things you should pack for any summer travel plans.

Light natural makeup

Many people like to give their skin a break during summer. But if you still prefer to rock some makeup, then it’s best to pack light, natural makeup for your trip. The last thing you want to hide is your skin under heavy layers of makeup, as that will only trap heat. Light and natural makeup is the way to go during the hot season. So keep your heavy foundation, dark shadows, heavy-black eyeliners, and dark lipstick makeup kit at home. Instead, pack some tinted balms, tinted moisturizers, BB Creams, pretty natural eyeshadows, and any other thing that’ll lighten your makeup routine.

Sunscreen and dry shampoo

No matter where you’re heading this summer, protecting your skin health should be one of your priorities. A bottle of good sunscreen will keep those harmful sun rays away from your skin during the day, so keep this in mind. And if you’re headed to destinations with coral reefs, a zinc-based sunscreen is a must. You should also add a bottle of dry shampoo to your packing list if you’re planning to spend most of your vacation time during various outdoor activities. This way, you can give your skin a clean boost when a full shower is impossible. 

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Dangerous Things You Probably Shouldn’t Let Your Children Do

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As a mom, you want to do everything you can to protect your children, but sometimes, it’s not obvious that the thing they want to do could have some hidden risks and actually be harmful to their health and wellbeing. You know they shouldn’t play with matches or miss their shots, but there are less obvious dangers that you might miss.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some dangerous things you should probably not let your children do that you might not even be aware of:

Play music loudly

There is obviously nothing wrong with letting your kids enjoy music, but if they are using earbuds, then you should make sure that they keep the volume on the lower side to avoid potential ear loss. You can also protect the hearing of small children by wearing ear defenders if they plan on attending concerts with loud music. The whole family can still have fun, but in such a way that it will not be detrimental to their hearing.

Don’t let them play with dangerous toys

You could be forgiven for thinking any toy you buy at the store is totally safe for your child but that is not necessarily the case. Many toys contain small parts like button batteries and safety pins, which can be really dangerous if they come off and your child eats them, so as a parent, you should always check out the safety credentials of toys before you give them to your kids.

Don’t keep them out of the dirt

Okay, so this is not really dangerous so much as counterintuitive. If you try to keep your child pristine at all times, it could actually be bad for their health. Kids need exposure to a little dust and dirt to help them build strong immune systems, so although you should not let them play unsupervised in dirty areas, letting them get a bit muddy in the yard now and again is fine, and may actually help them.

Do not spoil them

It may seem harmless enough to give your kids everything they want when they are young, but I certainly did. But it could be causing mental health problems for them in the future when they do not get everything they want.

Kids who are spoiled find it harder to make friends, harder to deal with rejection and more difficult to be resilient, which can lead to anxiety and depression as they get older and realize that not everyone will spoil them as much as you do.

Don’t let them have secrets

It might seem harmless enough to encourage your kids to keep it secret that you ate cookies for lunch or whatever, but you need to bear in mind that some secrets are actually pretty dangerous and by encouraging them to keep a harmless one, you might make it easier for predators to encourage them to keep bad secrets too, Always be honest and open.

If you don’t let your kids do any of the above, then they will be less likely to get into difficulties and their well-being will be much better as a result.

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Why Being a Middle-Aged Woman is so Empowering

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

You’ve heard the rumors about women not giving any F’s when they hit a certain age. You’ve also heard of the invisibility of women once they hit those middle years. It’s all true. But ladies, don’t forget…invisibility is a mother fucking superpower. Not having any Fs left to give is the ultimate in enlightenment. This is evolution. You bad bitches. We cannot come out the gate this strong because the world would not be able to cope, so we gradually evolve into the super moms, wives and powerhouse women we were born to be. I’m here to educate you on why being a middle-aged woman is so empowering.

Not going to lie, some of us get there sooner than others and some of us never get there at all. Pssst, if you don’t get there, that spot of no longer giving any F’s and actually giving a damn about your own self, then you had the opportunity but you chose another path but it’s never too late. After all, life is nothing else if not a choose your own adventure. Every single decision you make, big or small, good or bad changes your course and that is the beauty of life. The secret is to embracing that fact and committing to growing from every minute of the journey. Smile because it happened don’t cry because it’s over is the vibe.

This is why being a middle-aged woman is so empowering.

That brings us to today, my name is Debi and I am smack dab in the throes of my life. Fuck midlife, none of us know when it’s going to be over. None of us know when it’s going to change or in what ways. That’s why we need to live every single day like it is the only one. This whole idea of saving things for special occasions or as a reward for doing hard things…life is hard enough, do what you want to do and live life on your own terms every day.

Yes, you’ve made choices prior like choosing happiness in the form of a partner and children, career, where you live and what you do and every decision has consequences and those consequences have ripples. They have to be considered, you can’t run around being completely selfish…your actions affect others after all. The key is to be more thoughtful with your decisions in the first place and make your own hopes and dreams part of the decision-making process from the start.

The fact of the matter is that you don’t live in a bubble, you live in the world, but you need to remember that you matter just as much as the other people in your world, not more or less but you do need to be an advocate for your own happiness. You are responsible for your own happiness. Life doesn’t happen to anyone. We aren’t victims of life. It is, without a doubt, a situation where you get out what you put in so if you don’t have what you want, you didn’t want it hard enough.

Our partners and children aren’t purposely taking advantage of us, in most cases, though sometimes it may absolutely feel like it. They are simply treating us the way we allow them to treat us, they are following our example. We truly are the masters of our own destiny. Don’t want to be a martyr? Don’t be. Don’t want to be at the mercy of everyone else’s needs? Don’t be. Choose happiness. Stop overthinking it. You can do whatever you want, and it’s not too late unless you are actually dead.

I am currently back in school getting another master’s degree because I am planning on starting a new career path, or at the very least, exploring new pathways on my journey. You heard me right, I am planning to change careers around 50, as my girls go away to college and start their lives, I’m going to reboot mine. Why the hell not? I am an example for them. They are the inspiration for me. Motherhood was another detour on my journey and it has been the most challenging and enriching thing I’ve done with my life. I made and raised human beings. I’m fucking awesome. They are a living breathing testament to what I do and who I am and it’s better than any work award I’ve ever gotten.

All this to say, you’ve got this. I’ve got this. You deserve good things. You deserve to be a priority in your own life. Motherhood is not just about service to others. Womanhood is not just about fulfilling some predestined feminine bullshit idea of who you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be. You can be anything and everything and it is never too late. Choose the life you want to live don’t live the life others expect because you only have one life and it’s really not that long.


Middle age sounds scary when you’re young because it sounds a lot like being old and, for many of us, the reality is that we see being old as just one step away from being dead. The truth is that no one tells you that you feel 25 forever. My gray hair and gravity-affected body may say otherwise but my heart and soul, 25-years-old every damn year. All of us, especially us women, need to change how we look at middle age. It’s not the end of anything. It’s the beginning of the second act and that’s where all the real freedom is. It’s where we finally figure out how to be happy in our own skin. Midlife is where we finally get to live for ourselves. If you frame it that way, being a middle-aged woman is the most empowered a woman can be and that’s the truth.

Ask any woman over 40 when has she ever felt freer, sexier or more herself? They’ll tell youwhy being a middle-aged woman is so empowering. When we are young, or bodies may be beautiful and our spirits may be adventurous, but we are all insecure in some way or the other because we are naive. With age really does come wisdom and we learn how to prioritize what really matters over the bullshit that the world tells us matters. For the first time in our lives, we are the most important person in the room to ourselves and we love and respect who we’ve become because we fought hard to get here. So don’t feel bad for me because I’m not in my 20’s anymore because for the first time in my life, I know exactly what I want and I’m not afraid to fight for it.

Do you agree? And if so, why do you think being a middle-aged woman is so empowering?

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An Open Letter to Men from Women on Misogyny, Abortion, Sex and Equality

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

As a feminist mom of teenage girls, this is the post that lives in my mind at all times. As a daughter and granddaughter of a mother and grandmother who have always been marginalized by what lies between her legs, I am offended.  As a woman who has been judged, juried and punished for being feminine and curvy, I am livid. As a woman who has been sexually harassed and abused by men and afraid for as long as I can remember, I am done. As a woman who thinks and feels and sees and exists, I am outraged. This is my open letter to men on misogyny, abortion, sex and equality

For as long as I can remember, I have walked through the world feeling in danger. In danger of being touched, groped, raped and even assaulted by men. Worse still, I have learned to survive. To make myself small and quiet when I needed to which if you know me, you know is not me. I am not alone.

When strange men on trains, on planes, in clubs, at school, at church, online, at frat parties, walking home from school, playing at a friend’s house, while shopping, while eating, while working, breastfeeding, playing at the park with my children, while living my life and even while sleeping have forced their crude remarks, wandering hands and themselves upon me, I had to learn to escape with the least amount of damage; not unscathed because, as any woman knows, that is impossible. So I made a decision, a long time ago, I refused to raise my daughters to make themselves small and I myself will never again make myself small…because they (my daughters) are watching.

Misogyny

I refuse to raise my daughters to hunch their shoulders, hide their bodies in baggy clothes, feel shame for being attractive or saying no. Not today misogyny. I would not raise them to consider anyone other than themselves when getting dressed. No one else’s opinion on what they wear, their size, shape, hair color, makeup or sexual prowess is any of their business. I taught my girls that they are equal to men and, let’s be honest, in some ways, they’re better. Most importantly, I raised them to respect themselves and their own thoughts and opinions over anyone else’s. That being said, they were taught that everyone else is entitled to their opinions about life but those opinions have no effect on our lives.

My girls know what consent is. I taught them to say no loudly and habitually when they want to. Their body is their body, not mine, not yours and not some random dude who can’t keep his toxic masculinity and hormones in check, not even their husband or boyfriend. Believe me, toxic masculinity comes in more forms than just a rapist in a dark alley or skeevey dudes at the clubs, these men can also be your boss, your priest, your friend, the old man down the road, the boy next door and the guy who’s supposed to protect and serve your community.

I’ve fought the school on dress codes and refuse to have my daughters wear baggy clothes just because it’s too distracting to the boys. Why aren’t clothes that fit enough? Sorry, breasts and butts happen. We all have them.

I’ve fought public opinion on my daughters wearing bikinis when they were toddlers because someone had the audacity to say I was sexualizing my toddlers. No, you pervert are the one sexualizing a child. That’s a “you” problem. I was simply buying a suit that was comfortable for my tall child. Covering her belly button is not more important than preventing discomfort or causing infections. As teenagers, I stand by that statement. What women are wearing is not a concern for men. If it offends you or overstimulates you, overt your fucking eyes. Stop policing us. We don’t police you. Stay in your lane.

Sex

I’ve taught my daughters that sex is beautiful when they are mature enough to handle all that comes with it. We’ve talked about sex since they started asking. It’s not dirty or bad. They are not naughty for being curious. I don’t preach abstinence. I talk about respecting their bodies, themselves, their partners and waiting until they are ready.

I tell them that sex does not equal love. Sex is sex and someone can love having sex with you and not love you at all. I’ve taught them about birth control and responsibility, taking it themselves and demanding it of their partners. Sex with someone you love is beautiful and sex with yourself is cathartic. We don’t slut-shame so I’ve even taught them that we don’t judge and criticize other people’s sexual choices.

Abortion

I am pro-choice and I’ve raised my girls to know why. It’s not that I am pro-abortion or that I’ve had or would’ve ever chosen to have one. It is that I respect women and their lives and it is every single human being’s right to be in control of what happens to their own body. You can argue that you are pro-life because you believe every single life is precious but if that’s your reasoning, what about the life of the girl or woman who finds herself pregnant (for whatever reason, the reason is irrelevant…women should not have to qualify the choices they make for their own bodies to anyone else, especially men) and is not capable of raising it, taking care of it, wanting or loving and providing for it in the way that she wants at that time?

If you are pro-life only for an unborn fetus, then you are not concerned with life (because you have disregarded the woman’s) you are concerned with moral superiority and inflicting your beliefs on others. It’s a power struggle not a pro-life issue. If abortion morally offends you, simply do not have an abortion. Period. While we’re on the subject, can all the politicians please GTFO of our uteruses?

Whatever your belief is, the consequences rest with the woman having the abortion and it’s between her and her God. She will have to live with that choice forever. There is no way around that. If you think the decision to have an abortion is one a woman takes lightly, you’ve never actually asked a woman who has to make that choice. Her decision has no immediate or direct effect on your life. It’s not your business to decide and making abortion illegal will not stop abortions, it will only stop safe abortions which means they will put women’s lives and their future reproductive health in jeopardy.

Equality

My girls are free to make their own choice on which side they choose to support because I respect them, their intelligence and their right to choose. If my daughters ever find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, I will do what any parent should do, I will counsel, love and support them in whatever decision they make for themselves. But at the same time, it’s my responsibility, as a parent, to teach them about respecting their bodies, loving themselves, pregnancy prevention, sexual safety and knowing the difference between love and sex.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not promoting teen sex, promiscuity, unplanned pregnancy or abortion. I am simply saying that these things happen and, in case no one was paying attention, it takes a man and a woman to get pregnant but only the girl or woman is left with the immediate responsibility of raising, caring for and providing for the child because we are the ones who carry it. Men can walk away and pretend it didn’t happen and some do. Men are not the ones paying for the consequences of one night for the rest of their lives, women are.

So until men can be held equally accountable for women’s reproduction, they should have no say in what we do, how we behave or what we choose to do or not do with our own bodies. Women are not property, nor inanimate objects, we are not born to provide care and pleasure for men…we are simply born to live and pursue our own happiness, just like every man.

It’s enraging enough that we are not given equal pay, equal voice or equal respect or rights as human beings. The world teaches little girls that doing anything like a girl is bad, weak and less than. It teaches girls to be quiet, be amiable, smile more and accept the places they’ve given us. Little girls need to be encouraged and empowered to use their voices, stand up and be everything they dream of being without the worry of being oppressed and reduced to their sexuality. Our girls are more. We are more.

This is not about me bashing men. This is me protecting and standing up for my daughters and every other child. These things I am teaching my daughters; need to be taught to our sons as well. Things will never change until we all work together to change the way things are; we have to stop accepting misogyny (in all its forms) as just the way it is. I don’t want my girls to feel scared and afraid of men and boys and I don’t think your boys want my girls to feel that way either. It starts now by refusing to let one more girl make herself feel small and quiet just to feel safe living with girl parts in the world.

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Are CoVid Vaccinations Putting Us All at Higher Risk due to False Security

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Today, my girls return to in-person school during a pandemic, after a 10-day quarantine. Three days is how many days my girls were back in school before they were quarantined for 10 days. Yes, you heard me correctly, my daughters who are fully vaccinated were both directly exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus at school where masks are not mandated but encouraged. No, my daughters were not wearing masks because my daughters are vaccinated that was definitely my poor judgment. But breakthrough CoVid infections are real and dangerous. Did I mention that masks are not required and mode 3 virtual is not even an option at my daughters’ school this year? It’s not. Leaving me to wonder are CoVid vaccinations putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

Why my girls were quarantined

Both girls were exhibiting potential Coronavirus symptoms that were on the “must quarantine until they get a negative CoVid test result” or as I like to call it, the “CoVid No Fly” list. We got the test results back and both were negative but because they had been directly exposed and had been sick, even with the vaccination and negative test results due to the possibility of a false-negative test they have to quarantine for the entire 10 days. While I am thrilled that the school is doing their due diligence and my girls are negative (yay science), I am pissed off that there are so many parents who refuse to get their kids vaccinated and still send their kids to school sick, unvaccinated and refusing to wear the masks the school has asked unvaccinated students to wear. Their recklessness has caused a large number of quarantines within the first few days of school being back in session and it’s only going to get worse.

Here are the most recent CDC guidelines for back to school.

I got the vaccine. My girls and the Big Guy, we were first in line after a year+ of being societally obligated to be imprisoned in our own house due to a pandemic and some fun underlying conditions that made the world a virtual minefield of danger zones for our health. We masked up when so many others in our area were not. We were genuinely afraid of contracting and dying from a gnarly case of coronavirus. We did everything we were supposed to (and more) watching in horror as friends and family contracted and died from the virus. When school was scheduled to start back on August 11th, we were nervous but excited. We knew we had to be diligent but felt safe returning to school during what we believed were the end stages of the coronavirus pandemic. We were absolutely wrong in our false sense of security and believing that others did their part.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist or particularly scared of anything in the world. I wasn’t raised on fear. I’m a Gen Xer who has had her fair share of cooties. I kissed a lot of frogs in my lifetime, observed the 5-second rule and regularly used other people’s toothbrushes in a pinch during my college years. However, I do believe in science and my IQ is a little higher than the average bear.  The biggest thing is that I can read, have intelligence and believe that a brand new respiratory virus is going to be contagious. My doctor also believes that the horrible “virus” I contracted in early February of 2020 left me nearly for dead, so much so that I literally gave my notice at work, complete with loss of taste, smell and even CoVid toes before it was even a thing, in fact, early days rona. Did I mention that I lost three family members to coronavirus? I did. It has been an epically shitastic year and to make it all worse, I am surrounded by idiots.

Yep, I said it. You can’t wish away rona any more than you can cancer. It’s here, whether you want to believe in it or not and guess what? It is coming for you. The only unknown variable is will you be an asymptomatic carrier who spreads and kills others, maybe you’ll get long-haul symptoms (it’s possible even when asymptomatic) like strokes, heart attacks, asthma or brain damage afterward. Maybe you get a mild case and survive or maybe you catch it and suddenly find yourself dead. I’m sure your family will love the fact that they lost their mom, dad, sister, brother, son or daughter because you decided your right to be a selfish asshole was more important than wearing a paper mask in public and staying the eff out of other people’s personal space for the greater good.

Anyways, I got my vaccination and so did my immediate family. We did everything we could to be part of the solution instead of the problem. We don’t want to be responsible for killing others. We’d rather gamble on science. For a couple of months, we felt safe. Slowly, we ventured back out into the world amongst other people. We thought everyone was doing their part. We were dead wrong.

Are CoVid vaccinations putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

It was exhausting because in the last 17 months peopling has become terrifying; every single person we encounter is a potential assassin and we really like living. School started back for our girls. They are in person for the first time since March 2020. My girls celebrated 2 milestone birthdays confined to the house like criminals on house arrest; we all did. We chose to do the right thing and still, here we are in the middle of yet another surge because other people still chose to believe conspiracy theories over science. These are obviously the same think tanks who refuse to believe that dinosaurs existed, the Holocaust happened or anyone ever set foot on the moon. Yep, the same geniuses who think the world is flat. If this part is offending you, you should stop reading because I don’t think we could have an actual intelligent conversation together in person so let’s stop wasting each other’s time.

My whole point is so many of us did the right thing and the rest of you are messing this up. It’s bad enough that you’ve destroyed the climate now, you’re openly chastising those of us trying to save the world. This group project sucks and I am so tired of being the one who’s doing all the work. Do your part. I’m so mad at myself for letting my guard down.I think in some small part having the CoVid vaccination is putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security even though literally it is saving our lives.

Here I am somewhere between terrified of dying and so pissed off that I’m about to start throat punching random people who refuse to mask up. The trigger in my brain that felt safe for those couple of months, doesn’t want to believe that some of you don’t give any f*cks whether you kill my mom and dad or my elementary school-aged nieces and nephews but I’ve seen your posts and I know that you don’t care who you kill, as long as you can run around without wearing a mask. Mentally I am spent.

I’m tired so tired and I don’t want to play this game anymore. It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake with a Freshman who has gotten no sleep because she is stressed out about returning to school tomorrow; afraid of coronavirus and the 11 tests and quizzes that she has to make up upon her return. The bottom line is, you’re an asshole if you’re not vaccinated. Adults you need to do your part; wear your masks at all times in public, wash your hands and social distance. You liars and rule-breakers are the reason we can’t have nice things (like safely being able to exist in the world and do things like going to school and getting groceries) and the reason we’re all going to end up back in lockdown and to you, I say, “EFF YOU.”

So if you’re refusing to do your part, remember that there are children who don’t have a choice but to put themselves in harm’s way physically and mentally because you can’t make good choices. Your choice to disregard science, ignore facts and not wear a mask or get vaccinated go way beyond you. This is not a personal choice that only affects you but every single person living in it. Your one moment of selfishness can mean death to others. The kids are not alright and as adults, it is our responsibility to keep them safe and sound. If you don’t care enough about yourself to do the right thing, what about the innocent kids who are suffering from the mental and physical stress of trying to live in a coronavirus world?

If you live in an area with no mask mandate in place in the schools, are you sending your kids back to school in person and if so what precautions will you take to keep your family safe?

Do you think CoVid vaccinations are putting us all at higher risk due to a false sense of security?

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As a mom, how often have you felt overwhelmed and overworked in your life? Most moms will acknowledge the responsibility that is motherhood, and no matter how much help you have, it seems mothers are hardwired to carry the weight of motherhood physically. All the parts you can see and the parts you can’t see. Even if you manage to share the load with your other parent, husband, partner, chances are most moms will still feel the stress that comes with parenthood.

“A mom’s work is never done.”

More so now, during a global pandemic, moms and dads alike often forgo what they need themselves as they strive to provide for their family and keep everyone happy, safe, and healthy. Sadly, this means as parents, more often than not, your needs come last. But all the stress, worry, heartache, and mental juggling of tasks can take its toll on your mental and physical health.

Even those pushed for time need to take some time to make sure they don’t burn out and make themselves ill. Your family needs you to be healthy, and this means looking after yourself as much as everyone else. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time or you shouldn’t. Self-care needs to be standard and not classed as a luxurious treat.

Self-care can simply be the act of putting makeup or completing a full skincare routine with cream, oils, and face masks. It can be reading a book or taking a long hot bath in peace. It doesn’t matter what it is or how often you do it, as long as you do it, and it makes you feel better.

Accept help

You may be able to do it all on your own with no help, but that doesn’t mean you should. New moms, let someone take over the small tasks for you. Sure, you may not want to leave your new baby, but having someone come over to help clean up, put the dishwasher on or washing machine or simply make you a hot drink and some food can be a huge help during those first weeks of getting used to life as a new parent.

But as your family grows, learn to accept the help for what it is and not as an attack on you and your parenting skills. Having the kids go for a playdate for an hour or two can give you breathing space to do something you need to do. Be it a nap, drink a hot coffee or binge watch that show on Netflix everyone is talking about. If it makes you feel better, do it and don’t punish yourself for accepting help – a happy parent is a much better parent, don’t you think?

Eat well

How often have you tricked your child into eating healthy food to make sure they are getting all their vitamins and minerals? When was the last time you checked to make sure you were getting all of yours? Neglecting your diet can lead to unhealthy choices and a lack of energy as your body isn’t getting what it needs. If you are struggling with choosing the right foods, try meal planning, and prepping to make sure you have healthy meal options available at all times.

Supplements can help boost your required daily intake but not replace them. You shouldn’t rely on vitamin supplements to get what your body needs each day. Keep a fruit salad prepared in the fridge for a go-to snack or have healthy nuts and seeds for you to snack on during the day. Look after your body, and it will look after you. After all, as a busy parent, you need all the energy you can get.

Sleep

Easier than it looks. Parents sleep if their kids sleep at night. And if they don’t, coffee is your best friend! The baby and toddler years can be rough when it comes to sleep deprivation – especially if other parents brag about how their child sleeps through the night! You may feel like you will never get a good night’s sleep again. But little things can be done to help you fall asleep faster and make the most of the time you do have to sleep.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is possibly one of the more ridiculous things to say to parents. As much as you may want to nap, chances are you will have other things that need taking care of instead.

Try to find a good bedtime routine that works for you and your family. Take note of advice such as removing electronics from the bedroom, keeping the tv off at night, and having a bath before bed. Practicing yoga can help to relax you as can meditation if you can find time to get into the right mind space for it to be effective. Lavender works wonders for inducing a calming night’s sleep – for you and children too, as can using a sleep mask and the right bedding for your bedroom for any given season. You can also apply a mānuka essential oil before you sleep to combat the signs of many common skin issues such as anti-aging and acne.  Exercising in the evening can help you to burn off any pent-up energy and allow you enough of a release to sleep better at night. But, working out too close to bedtime will have the complete opposite effect—trial and error but always worth trying out.

Exercise

Taking the baby out for a walk in their stroller is exercise, as is chasing a toddler around the local park or even jumping in the pool with the family on a hot summer day.
It isn’t all about hitting the gym and pushing yourself as hard as you can. But if that is what works for you, then it can be that—a dance class with your friends or a neighborhood basketball game. Get out, get moving, and raise your heartbeat.

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