Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We Are Living in Panem

With last night's GOP taking control of the senate I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. All that stands between me and the loss of my reproductive health rights is one worn out man grasping to show that things are better now than they were 6 years ago when he stepped into position as president. While he is no Coriolanus Snow, I fear he could be replaced by one who is and that would be the end of the dystopian projection and become reality. We are already so close.

When poor citizens of Panem, while still being employed have to take Tesserae to make ends meet. How is this any different than a single mother working three jobs and still having to take welfare? It's not.

When those who are supposed to protect us are the ones slaughtering us, how are Peacekeepers any different than police offers?

When textbooks no longer contain facts due to political decisions how is that any different than the narrow education children in the districts get?

When access to real doctors becomes illegal or impossible people turn to more dangerous local answers, how is that any different than Panem?

When children like Rue are slaughtered by children like Marvel or Cato how is that any different than (I will not dignify them with names) slaughtered other children at Sandy Hook or Columbine? It's not. People tuned in, fascinated, just as the Capitol would, while others just mourned.

When a few who enjoy the luxury of the capitol while the majority are left to suffer, how is that any different than the 1% and the 99? It's not.

Don't delude yourselves. There is a rebellion brewing. Don't be afraid to hold out your berries.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Body is Not Your Body

Two post day! I am getting wild up in here! Or I just have a lot to say and my passion is gearing it towards writing rather than anything else at the moment. Not only have I achieved a new peace by letting go of some of my notorious hustle and bustle (think Monica Geller on speed), I have also taken a great personal leap into the world of very visible tattoos.

I was advised against this by someone in my life who has some very painfully outdated ideas on human bodies, and personal body relationships which led to some very sad and confused years that has taken many friends, many kind and supportive lovers and much therapy to get over. I am happy to say that other than some grumblings about IBS, Hypothyroidism and TMJ I have a great love for the shapes of my body, bumps, lumps, weird hairs, giant boobs, all of it.

I am happy that I listened to myself in taking this step. Because my body is a work of art. It is opening my eyes. Every piece of food or drink that passes my lips, every lotion I use, every haircut I get, every workout and yes, every tattoo is an aspect of 'my art'.

I wear my tattoos proudly because they are all a part of the stories I love and stories that have become woven into my own. None more than this latest addition. I carry with me always the spirit of Harry, Katniss, Elsa, Anna, Buffy, Frodo, The Newsies, and Arthur Dent. I carry my heroes and heroines who survived the loss of parents, loved ones, lived through the hardest adventures and never gave up. I am never alone because they are all here with me. And now I am proudly sharing them even more openly with the world. Because maybe, perhaps my story will help strengthen others.

I am standing up for myself, what I want and how I want to be treated. I am giving myself a channel to the world that I didn't have before as someone so introverted. Even in the past week my normally painful interactions with strangers in elevators and stores have been imbued with a magic, a power, that this new ink gives me.

To love yourself is the greatest power and magic of all.

Love, The Geeky Garlic Girl

Finding Peace in a Busy World

2014 is not over yet but I feel the need to reflect on it now. It has been some time since I last posted. Mostly due to scheduling/health/general malaise, but I feel I am emerging from this state for numerous reasons. 2014 I deemed to be the year of living positively. Right off the bat that fell apart. It took me until recently to really realize why.

When you schedule yourself every moment with work, hobbies, exercise, cooking, cleaning, etc. YOU can get lost in the shuffle of THINGS. You stop noticing the small beautiful moments in life. You stop SEEING.

I barreled through the year until we finally went on our honeymoon in September, where my habits of excessive planning turned us into burnt out grumps. And I took it to heart. Which isn't to say it wasn't the most magical experience on earth. (Harry Potter land! Dinner in Cinderella's castle!)

But it could have been better if I had planned less and looked forward to living in the moments. So with the dip in my health as a result of burnout I took extreme measures. I have skipped the exercise classes, stopped planning so many meals in advance, stopped booking my weeknights and weekends to the top and just left it free.

In doing so I have found longer and longer respites for my sanity. Less depression, less anxiety and more appreciation for my cats, my husband, my friends and my hobbies. I have even found myself smiling more at myself in the mirror than just rushing through my morning and evening routines because my attention is not on 10 other tasks that need to be done that day.

It's important to remind ourselves every now and then, in a world of Pinterest, the latest news scandals, the latest in planet doom and gloom, the body revolution or devolution, and all the rest, is that we have a choice whether we want to participate, it isn't mandatory. And that my friends creates peace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Positivity & Depression

Over the past year I have struggled with depression and anxiety more than usual, much coming from health problems and family deaths that left me reeling. In January it finally all hit at once. Everything. 19 years worth of pain that I had been unknowingly repressing and holding in burst out of me. From there I have been working on rebuilding myself and my brain, one thought at a time. I want to share some of the things that have helped me cope with my acute anxiety disorder so maybe I can help other people who are suffering.

Therapy. I had bad experiences with a bad therapist as a child, (after my mom died) and it took many years to seek it out again, but now I have a much better therapist and I feel comfortable sharing. Don't settle for a therapist you don't love. It won't help anything. Trust me. There's a perfect one out there for you.

Get off social media more. I really noticed a shift in my spirits when I decided to take weekends as time for just me and my husband and friends I could see in person. I realized that the world didn't end when I didn't know what show so and so watched, or what vacation so and so else had come back from. It really helped me reconnect with my new husband.

Give back. This one is the most sensible of all. Buy a homeless person food. Shovel a driveway for someone. Be a mentor to someone struggling. When I am down and find myself without much time I like to browse and send letters to people with their own struggles. It helps me feel better by adding more love into the world and it also reminds me that my problems, big as they might seem, are not so big that I can't carry them.

Spend time with a pet. Our cat Buttercup knows what time is sit down and cuddle time and will make sure I know if I am cooking too late into the evening or doing other things that interrupt his sacred time with me. He makes me pause and appreciate those around me, if just for a few minutes. It can be annoying but I am more grateful than anything.

Lean on your friends. This is something that is hard for me. I grew up as an independent child as a result of some of the darker parts of my childhood. I tried to be as isolated and self reliant as I could and that wore me out. It is spiritually exhausting to be lonely. When I learned how to reach out and ask for help my life improved. It is still scary to put my faith in others, but I am getting better at it.

Get to know yourself. So much depression and anxiety comes from drowning in SEPs. (Somebody else's problems.) My therapy is helping me set boundaries and say no to things I don't want to do, and in turn I am less anxious and stressed out. My time is becoming MY time. For me, about me, about what I think. Not in a self centered way. but more learning more about myself and how I tick so I can be a better friend, wife, daughter, sister, niece etc. To thine own self be true.

If any of these tips help you overcome some of your problems and battles please let me know. I would love to hear it!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Big Rant

Over the past week I have been insulted, harangued, threatened and worse. Because I dared to tell the world I am not okay with the fact that women's reproductive systems are being more legislated than guns. The fact I have to type this sentence as a woman in 2014 breaks my heart.

One of the worst parts? Someone I tried to explain the situation to dismissed it as not her problem, when her very boss was the one who said the very public and very frightening things to me. She just got an IUD. The very type of birth control her boss would take away from her if she could.

WAKE UP AMERICA. This isn't someone else's problem. This is your problem, and your brother's, and your mom's, and your doctor's. It's all our problems. I could cite all the statistics of how our infant mortality rate is skyrocketing, the amount of corruption being revealed in police work and on the floor of Congress. I could talk about the growing violence against men in the growing prison systems and as well as the number of deaths of children to self inflicted gun shot wounds.

But what's the point? Men and women like the ones I described above are both symptoms of a greater problem. Each person who turns their back on statistics like the ones above is another degree of damnation. Our country is not falling apart. It is being ripped to shreds by a tightly held oligarchy that we are too lazy to do anything about!

Well I'm not. I will be there protesting, escorting women into planned parenthood, I will be using my voice. I will no longer be sitting on the sidelines. I have kicked one person out of my life this week over his views and I will do it again if I have to. I will move mountains starting with a single pebble.

I will leave you with a very famous poem.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Great Big Wedding Post!

The silence is over. The wedding has passed, and now I can share all the crazy crafting projects that have taken my attention away from cooking, blogging, exercise, and everything else but wedding crafting. It was worth it for the things I am going to show you now! (All images not credited are my own measly attempts to capture what I was doing, the gorgeous ones are all professionally done and credited.)

When we were forming the idea for our wedding it had started out as a much broader book themed wedding, but when we lost our first venue we changed it, realizing that our second choice venue (Lawry's Prime Rib of Beverly Hills) would be perfect for a Harry Potter themed wedding. Ideas started churning in my head about what I wanted, from the goblet of fire, and the house points to Bertie Botts Beans. There was too much to choose from to represent it all, so we concentrated on enhancing the restaurant's Hogwarts like features.

I am not a fan of cut flowers, and I cringed at how much plastic goes into fake ones, so we originally tried making paper flowers, but those had mixed results. (See the past post on this subject.) When those didn't work we went back to the drawing board. We experimented with various media until we stumbled upon ribbon roses. I happened to have a friend who turned out to be brilliant at making them and so we decided to create brooch bouquets with ribbons, since I loved the idea of brooch bouquets.

Since our theme gave us the option to use many colors we took advantage of that. We let the bridesmaids pick out a style together, and the only criteria was that it came in all 4 house colors. This allowed us to create bouquets with the house accent colors, pulling our theme together without making anyone wear robes, or uniforms.
Image Credit Candice Benjamin Photography. (

I got the chance to really try my hand a few different crafts I hadn't tried before, as well as breaking out my old calligraphy skills. One of my favorite new crafts is needlefelting, where you use a small serrated needle and stab it into wool to tangle the wool and shape it, much as a clay sculptor would. This allowed me to create some special items to decorate the tables such as Dobby, below.

Another example was the Platform 9 3/4 sign and brick fabric. We wanted people to feel like they were being transported to Hogwarts, starting the moment they arrived. Being greeted by Hedwig and Harry's truck certainly helped.
Image Credit Candice Benjamin Photography. (

Since I was going to be wearing a regular wedding dress, I wanted my accessories to be matched to the theme, as well as the groomsmen. I bought Harry Potter silk ties off Amazon for the men to wear. I bought a Time Turner from the Noble collection and found a pair of earrings I liked at Charming Charlie's. The other bracelet was what I wore out that night with my Ravenclaw party dress. I found that at a Harry Potter craft fair at Whimsic Alley, a charming little nerd boutique in Hollywood. My co worker created the garters, by dismantling some HP earrings that are sold at hot Topic.
Image Credit Candice Benjamin Photography. (

We really wanted people to keep discovering new things as they moved through the wedding venue, from the ceremony room to the reception hall. We had House banners created, and our venue let us choose house colors for all the different tables so that people really felt like they were sitting in the great hall at their house's tables. Various friends who I can not give enough thanks to, helped create and set up the decorations. We were pleased with our Monster Book Of Monsters Guestbook, created my by cousins, who took my idea of a Trelawney book of predictions and even made a scroll to go with it!
And the table of cake pops and candy looked great. We really wanted our guests to feel like you had visited Honeydukes. (The candy table got Marvolo Gaunt rings instead of Truffle Snitches because Wormtail found them in the office and ate them all. We even decorated the bathroom stalls.
Image Credit Candice Benjamin Photography. (

All in all it was a huge success.
Image Credit Candice Benjamin Photography. (
Wands Came from Wands and Wood
Banners were made by Men of the Cloth
Hair by Leanne Hare
Makeup by Megan Vigil