Reflections on the Women’s March #WhyIMarch

22 Jan

Yesterday, I attended my first ever protest march (what a privileged life I have lived to have never felt so strongly as to formally protest anything).  Having worked blocks from the White House and lived in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, I have often accidentally attended countless marches and protests, but this was the first that I attended with intention.  I would like to say a few words regarding my experience.

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First, I’ll put this right out here at the outset.  Yes, there were some vulgar things said and represented on signs.  Yes, there were some people who said hateful things, especially about our new president.  I do not condone this, nor do I think it is particularly productive.  In fact, I think it is counter-productive to the “love trumps hate” and “we go high” messages, which seem far more powerful to me.  I know the march re-opened the debate about whether one can be at once a feminist and pro-life.  I am not looking to settle that debate here.  While I do believe there are certainly women’s health issues that are under fire, reproductive rights were not what called me to the march.  It is easy to focus in on those aspects and discount the whole thing as a gathering of sore losers.  Having been one in a crowd of hundreds of thousands, I can attest to the fact that there was an overwhelming sense of love and solidarity (not to mention peacefulness!).  There was beauty in the diversity of people with so many opinions coming together to agree on some fundamental things.  We definitely didn’t all agree on everything and we all came for different reasons, but we were unified by the belief that basic human rights and decency have come under attack.  We were unified by the belief that science and truth have come under attack.  We were unified by the belief that there should be no place for misogyny and white nationalism in the White House.

These were the overarching reasons that drove me to march.  More specifically, I feel strongly about the way President Trump has spent most of his adult life objectifying and denigrating women.  He has spoken in disgusting terms about too many women to name, including his own wives and daughters, and I am deeply troubled by the way he has been given a pass on all of this.  The fact that he had the likes of Jeff Sessions denying that what he described on the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape was in fact sexual assault is appalling.  It is not comforting in the least that Mr. Sessions has walked this claim back now that he is slated to lead the Department of Justice.  It’s easy for me to identify with this issue as a woman and mother of a daughter, but it’s not the only reason I marched.

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I also marched for reasons that will likely never affect me personally due to the privilege afforded me by the color of my skin.  I marched in solidarity with Muslim Americans and People of Color.  I am fearful for our future if it includes a Muslim registry.  I am fearful for our future if we don’t recognize that racism still exists and that its existence necessitates certain protections under the law.

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I marched because I believe that science and reason have come under attack.  It seems that being an expert in scientific fields may be frowned upon in the incoming cabinet.  I fear what it means for our future if we ignore climate science.  I fear what it means for my children as they enter schools in the next few years if debunked vaccination theories are once again given a national voice.

What I keep coming back to as I ponder how to move forward from the 2016 election, is a Vox piece called A handy guide to New Year’s resolutions in the era of TrumpSorry in advance for all the swears, but the third resolution especially comes to mind.  I’ll paraphrase without the swears!  It basically points to the fact that, because of tactics used by Trump to manipulate his opponents, the public, and the media, we have become too fatigued to really care about or pay attention to anything.  The news media is still finding its footing in terms of dealing with this phenomenon and has not done us many favors to alleviate this fatigue, in my humble opinion.  The author posits that the answer to this fatigue is becoming much more selective when deciding what issues in which to invest one’s time and energy.  As advocate citizens, we can be much more effective if we recognize that we only have so many cares to give.

I think the over-performance (in terms of turnout) of the women’s marches around the world is a perfect representation of this idea.  There were so very many offensive, shocking, and hateful things said during the 2016 campaign that it is no surprise that hundreds of thousands of people came together to show solidarity.  We may have been too fatigued individually to know how to respond, but this march was the collective representation of all of the people who felt marginalized and demonized by President Trump.

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My hope is that the women and men who marched harness the energy from yesterday’s event by choosing the one or two issues to which to lend their passions.  That won’t be the same for every person and I think that is what made this march so special.  It was an awakening of citizen advocacy.

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Many people used the refrain “not my president” yesterday.  Some may have meant it literally, but I can get on board with that feeling in a more metaphorical way.  He may have been elected president, but he does not speak for me.  I will not normalize or forget the disgusting things he has said about women.  I will not normalize or forget the way he has given white supremacy a place in our nation’s highest office.  I will not normalize or forget the way he has insulted entire religions and ethnicities.  The point of this march to me was to show the president that he works for us now, and we are the noisy majority.

Curious George Second Birthday Party

12 Jan

Well, here we are at the beginning of another year and our baby girl is two now! We once again decided to mark the occasion with close friends and family. When I reflect on the party and the year that has passed since the last one, I am struck by how incredibly fortunate we are to have such a wonderful group surrounding us with love and support. A group that has grown this year, not only through the addition of several new babies, but also through the delightful fellowship we have found within our little community of townhouses.  We truly are a lucky little family!

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Naomi has really been into watching Curious George lately, so I decided that would be a fun and easy theme for the party. Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite details.

I ordered this adorable digital invitation from Etsy {DesignsbyCassieCM} and simply uploaded it to Paperless Post for easy distribution and tracking.

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The patterns and colors on the invitation really helped me visualize the rest of the party decorations as well. Here is the look at how the tablescape came together {and some close-ups of the details}.

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I love the way the flower arrangements came together using simple red and yellow flowers, mason jars, and {what else} yellow hats! I also finally tried a flower arranging tip I’ve been wanting to try out for a long time. I simply criss-crossed clear tape across the opening of the mason jars and then screwed the metal ring on top to cover the tape and help hold it in place. This gives you smaller holes to work with so that the flowers stand up better in the vase. The yellow hats came together easily using yellow and black cardstock and sticks.

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The savory side of the table was “Chef Pisghetti’s Ristorante” and featured flatbreads and meatballs.

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There were also desserts fit for a monkey: chocolate cupcakes garnished with banana chips and my mom’s oft-requested banana pudding.

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 The kids area was all set with Curious George coloring books!

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Finally, the toddlers in the group went home with favor bags filled with the following Curious George themed goodies: a monkey mask, stickers, fruit snacks {purchased at Giant Food}, and sugar cookies {made using an Etsy cookie cutter, which was apparently not dishwasher safe :( }.

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We are so thankful for another year watching our little monkey grow up!

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Mystery Materials Craft Challenge {The Results}

8 Feb

Last night was the first MMCC party and it was so much fun to see what everyone came up with! I was really blown away by the wide variety of crafts … everyone’s take on the materials was totally different! My dining room table was like a Pinterest board come to life, complete with a painted mason jar and a decoupage tray! As a reminder, the theme was Valentine’s Day and the materials were mini cupcake liners, cotton balls, craft tags, and pink twine.

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Without further ado, here are the winners of our blind voting!

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wpid-IMG_20150207_231956.jpgAnd because I thought everyone did an amazing job, here are the other adorable entrants!

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 I am already thinking about what we should do for the next MMCC party and I can’t wait :)

Mystery Materials Craft Challenge {Valentine’s Day Surprise}

13 Jan

The new year almost always comes with ambitious new projects and ideas. This year I’m committing to the usual things … more thoughtful eating habits, de-cluttering my life, etc. Those things are great and all, BUT the new project I am most excited about is the Mystery Materials Craft Challenge (MMCC).

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What, you might ask, is the Mystery Materials Craft Challenge? I’m so glad you asked! It’s kind of a Martha Stewart-y version of the Food Network show Chopped {quick synopsis: chefs face off to make a three course meal using ingredients from a mystery basket}. The major differences being we’re crafting not cooking, and I’m not giving away $10,000! What I really want it to be, is a fun way for friends to get together and share in each other’s creativity. Here’s the way I set up the challenge:

1. A package containing four mystery materials and a theme is sent to each participant.

2. Participants create one-of-a-kind crafts using all four materials and as many other items as they want.

3. Crafters bring their completed projects to a party featuring a blind contest to award our favorites!

That’s the idea anyway. I hope it ends up being fun!  If nothing else, we can all laugh about our failed craft attempts in the company of good friends over food and wine! The theme for the first MMCC is Valentine’s Day and the materials are below.  What would you make with these materials? Stay tuned for the results!

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Happy December {Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star First Birthday}

17 Dec

Well, can you believe it? Our little girl turned one last month! We decided to share the occasion with close friends and family who have supported and loved us every step of the way in the first year of this big adventure! It truly has been an amazing year. Adam and I have been so humbled by the incredible love our little Naomi has already experienced in her life.

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I decided on a “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” theme because stars are everywhere … an easy way to have a cohesive theme without working too hard or being too theme-y. Here are a few of my favorite details from the celebration.

I put away the rubber stamps and went virtual this time around with the invitations *collective gasp*. We used the starry night design from www.paperlesspost.com. This site really has some beautiful stationery, and you can’t beat the ease of tracking responses, etc.

starry night 2Once I started picking out decorations, it seemed easiest to go with black, silver, and gold. When I put everything out on the table, it became clear that our party could have doubled as a Wake Forest alumni event with all of the Old Gold and Black!

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 One of my favorite touches was our Moravian Star as the centerpiece. This is such a touch of home for me and it’s nice to have an excuse to pull it out for an occasion other than Christmas (shameless plug for Old Salem in my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC)! Star-shaped sugar cookies and papers stars made using antique gold cardstock and a punch were easy, make-ahead ways to carry the theme.

IMG_20141116_160445Mini-cupcakes were adorned with edible gold stars!

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 And the same cardstock stars were used to anchor a banner featuring the monthly photos of our little Mimi … what a difference a year makes!

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We sent the guests home with favors bags with mini Milky Way bars.

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And what birthday celebration would be complete without the birthday girl enjoying some cake?!? It was her first taste of cake, and apparently, it was finger-licking good!

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Adam and I are beyond thrilled to call this little one our daughter and we had so much fun celebrating her first birthday! Here’s to many more!

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Happy New Year {Six Month Recap}

10 Jan

Happy new year, everyone! I’m finally making an attempt to pick back up on the blog a bit. It’s been an action-packed six months, so I figured I’d give a quick update of some of the highlights.

The rest of the summer was mostly spent getting settled into our new home and getting ready for Baby P … and sometimes both at the same time! One of my favorite projects in the home was, of course, planning and decorating the nursery! So much fun to plan a totally different type of room! I also loved having a blank canvas to work with in the rest of the house to re-imagine some of our existing furniture and add some new pieces in as well. Here are some snapshots of a few of my favorite spaces as they start to take shape.

20130904_184841This is our family room and I was so excited to move some of our new basement pieces from the basement redo up to the main living area. I love the coral and navy color palette and am so glad that it is now in a room that we use ALL the time.

20130922_182158The living room gave us the space to hang some of our favorite things on the wall … like the ukulele, which I think is beautiful, but is still easily accessible when the urge to play strikes one of us. And the Mary Belcher maps from Eastern Market really complete our office nook in a special and personal way.

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Finally, here’s a sneak peek of how the nursery started coming together. More on that later!

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Of course the biggest development in the last six months was the birth of our sweet baby girl. On November 12, 2013, our little Naomi Virginia finally decided to grace us with her presence! She was over a week late, but well worth the wait. Adam and I have been adjusting to our new world as her parents and enjoying how much she changes day-by-day ever since.

20131112_223759We have since been so overwhelmed by the love and support of our family and friends; who have visited, cooked for us, waited on me while I recovered and fed our little one, sent gifts, offered wise advice, and just generally been amazing!

I am enjoying the time away from work to really soak in these first weeks and months of Naomi’s life …  all of the firsts, the ups and the downs, and everything in between. I’m also looking forward to easing back into a {somewhat} normal routine, which will hopefully include continuing with some of the open projects around the new house and maybe even writing about a few things here. It’s pretty hard to tear myself away from this little face, so we’ll see how that goes!

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Up, Up & Away {Vintage Travel Themed Baby Shower}

10 Jul

So, where did June go? I suppose I have a few good excuses for the complete radio silence in June … not the least of which being our big move to the new house! One of the more fun excuses was helping to plan another baby shower for a dear friend! We went with a vintage travel/hot air balloon theme because the mama-to-be loves to travel. I’ll spare you a lot of the details because one of the other hosts has that covered over on her blog. You can read up on all the fun details {and more to come} on her fantastic blog, Short Pockets Number Two.

I’ll just share with you some of my favorite images from the day!

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{Invitations were made using the Silhouette digital cutting tool and decorative fabric tape from cutetape.com}

Garland

{Hot air balloon garland was made using a circle punch, heart punch, decorative fabric tape and bakers’ twine}

Check-In

{Guests pinned their birthplace upon arrival and the map was a unique guest book for the mom- and dad-to-be}

Food

{The sky’s the limit when it comes to adorable, pink sweets!}

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{We carried the travel theme through with the various stations at the shower, including the “beverage cart”}

Favors

{Iced animal cracker favors came together easily with snack-sized ziploc bags, a hot air balloon rubber stamp, and oval labels from Paper Source}

As always, the best part of planning a shower {apart from the fun crafternoons with the other hostesses} is preparing to welcome a new life into the world! So excited for the parents-to-be and can’t wait for their little girl to be BFFs with Baby P :)