Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to stop by today to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I'm in Arizona spending Christmas with Brett and his family (my first Christmas away from my family) and then we're heading to Los Angeles for an engagement party. I hope you're having a wonderful time filled with family, friends, and yummy food!

The Nativity by Gerard van Honthorst

Friday, December 14, 2012

Occupy Christmas

Occupy Christmas 2012

Earlier this week, my friend K re-posted this Occupy Christmas list from Rage Against the Minivan and I wanted to share it with you all!

I'm a big believer in having a simple Christmas. I'm of the less is more camp when it comes to decorations and, more importantly, I believe in giving big and buying small. For me, that means making handmade gifts instead of buying things, donating to charities, and focusing on spending time together with loved ones instead of shopping for them.

I spent most of my childhood having simple - and wonderful! - Christmases. After my parents got divorced, my mom went through this purging period where she donated most of our Christmas decorations. I'm pretty sure she gave our entire Christmas village and Christmas train to our landscaper one day. After that, our house always felt festive with just my great-grandmother's creche, a pretty tree strung with white lights, homemade garland and whatever "brilliant" decorating ideas my sister and I had, and some natural garland with big red bows on the staircase, mantel and front door. We made homemade Christmas ornaments as our Christmas presents for all of my grandparents, aunts, and uncles every year. We always did some kind of donation or project for a nonprofit. And we were limited to three Christmas presents from Santa. I was always confused when I saw movies and the kids had these long, rambling lists. But my mom told me Jesus got three presents, so that is what we got. :-)

Looking back, I'm so grateful that our Christmas was focused on volunteering and charity and that Christmas was mostly about the excitement of going to visit our huge family in Miami. I remember opening Christmas presents on Christmas morning, but truth be told, I can't tell you what a single one of those presents were. What I do remember is my grandparents waiting for me to get off the plane, waking up to a house full of aunts and uncles who had brought donuts, singing Christmas carols, and helping bake lots of cookies, cakes, and other yummy foods in a packed kitchen. These are the memories that have stood the test of time - and they have nothing to do with gifts.

As I've grown up, and as Brett and I think about what we want our Christmases to look like, it can be hard to resist the idea that you need to have a ton of huge presents underneath a decorated-to-the-max-with-ornaments-from-Pottery-Barn tree. That is what society tells us a "merry" Christmas looks like (and that is advertised every .5 seconds). But this Christmas, amidst all of the commercialized mess, I feel like more and more people are embracing a simple Christmas. It seems like there are more people who are trying to give creatively and not just give the biggest present. There seems to be more of an emphasis on giving back and helping those who are less fortunate. And there seems to be a focus on spending time instead of money.

So here is to a simple and peaceful Christmas this year! To a Christmas that has everything to do with love, family and special traditions, and very little to do with wish lists! 

P.S. If you are still looking for some gift ideas (I know I am!), be sure to check out Rage Against the Minivan's fantastic post or K's gift guides.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Montreal Massacre and the Murder of Najia Sediqi

December 6th marked 23 years after the Montreal Massacre, when a 25 year old male walked into a college classroom and stated, "I am here to fight against feminism. That is why I am here. You're all a bunch of feminists and I hate feminists." He then proceeded to murder 14 women with a semi-automatic gun before turning the gun on himself.

The massacre is now remembered as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. And if the murder of Kasandra Perkins' reminds us of how much work we have to do around violence against women and gun control, the Montreal Massacre reminds us of the price many women pay as they fight for their rights and try to live a life of equality. In Montreal, 14 women lost their lives because they chose to pursue a male-dominated engineering career. In Egypt, women who participate in their country's political revolution are often sexually assaulted and harassed. Only recently, 14 year old Malala Yousafazi was shot by the Taliban for trying to attend school. And yesterday, Najia Sediqi, the acting head of women's affairs in Afghanistan, was murdered on her way to work.

Women experience violence and risk their lives for feminism every day. Young girls risk death for demanding the same education as their brothers. Women are murdered for trying to help establish a country that would allow women to flourish.

And while some think that the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is outdated and that women should "stop insisting they were victims of deep-rooted cultural misogyny," we need holidays like it to remind the world that women do live in cultures permeated by deeply-rooted misogyny. We need holidays like it to remind us of the violence women face as they fight for their rights and the rights of their sisters around the world.

Photo source

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Motivational Monday

                                                                               Source: peonyandfig.tumblr.com via Shannon on Pinterest

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Feminist Wedding: Putting Together Your Wedding Planning Binder

This week, I thought I'd get into the nitty gritty of actually planning a wedding. Unfortunately, planning a wedding it isn't all just about pinning a million photos of dahlias and juliette garden roses to your pinterest board. At some point, you have to start choosing vendors, signing contracts, keeping track of guest lists and flight information, figuring out where to put the tables, etc.

If you don't hire a wedding planner to do all of these things for you, you need to be organized. Like, really organized. You don't want to run around on your wedding day trying to find the phone number for your florist in a big stack of papers on your desk. Or worse, have the flowers never even show up because you lost your contract and didn't know when the final payment was due.

I didn't like the idea of buying a pre-made wedding planning notebook. After looking through a couple, I either didn't like the way they looked and felt in my hands or I didn't like the information they had in them and the way there were formatted. So I decided to build one from scratch using lots of lists and spreadsheets and Martha Stewart office products (the BEST). Here is how I did it!

I bought a blue 1" Martha Stewart binder from Staples and two sets of blue Martha Stewart paper dividers. I had a really difficult time deciding how to organize my binder and label my dividers. In the end, I did it this way:

  • Important
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Photography
  • Flowers
  • Decor (rental info, receipts, spreadsheets listing what goes where, etc.)
  • Attire
  • Paper
  • Rehearsal
  • Honeymoon

These categories have worked really well for me, although I'm thinking about switching the honeymoon tab to be a "guest" tab (and using it to keep track of my guest list, flight info, etc.) and making a separate honeymoon binder.

Within each category, I have different subcategories. To make these dividers, I bought a big stack of cardstock, hold punched it, and added cute little tabs to label the subcategory. Subcategories include my checklist, vendor contracts, food, cake, seating, music. etc.

In addition to dividers, I also keep a little thing of stickies and additional tabs in the front of the binder and a big zipper pouch. To be honest, when I first got the zipper pouch I wasn't sure how useful it would be. But it is the best! I used Printable Press' color chart to help pick my own colors and printed and cut out the colors that are part of our palette. I also went to Home Depot and picked out paint chips in the colors that I like. I keep them in the little zipper pouch, along with business cards, a sweet thank you note from the owner of the store where I bought my dress and veil, and a few other misc. things.

As far as worksheets, spreadsheets, and other lists, I've used a combination of things from google doc's wedding templates, A Practical Wedding, Russell + Hazel, and Martha Stewart. I love Martha's wedding planning timeline/checklist, and while I know you don't really have to get anything done by any certain date, the way she breaks it down helps me set deadlines and focus on smaller groups of things at a time. This helps me avoid any nervous breakdowns or panic attacks, which is always a good thing. :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Remembering Kasandra Perkins


This week, like many of you, I've been mourning the death of Kasandra Perkins. 

Only recently, a community I'm involved with here in Atlanta lost a young woman and her mother to a terrible and tragic act of domestic violence and murder. And amidst all of this violence and death, I find myself deeply saddened and overwhelmed by how vulnerable so many women and children are; by how many women and children are bullied and beaten; by how many women and children live in fear; and by how many women and children die at the hands - and guns - of those they love.

The death of Kasandra Perkins reminds us all of the reality of intimate partner violence. The media response reminds us all of the deeply rooted sexism and victim blaming that exists in our society and that helps facilitate only more instances of violence.

We must remember Kasandra and other victims of violence. We must speak their names. And most importantly, we must fight for them. We must fight against a culture of hypermasculinity and against patriarchy, and we must fight for better legislation around domestic violence, better supports for abused women, and stricter gun control laws. In doing so, we honor Kasandra and the other women who have lost their lives. And hopefully, we can protect more women from losing theirs.