Liebster Award: The Alexa Edition

Liebster Award - Alexa Edition

 

Hello everyone! Co-Blogger and Partner-in-Crime Jenny had nominated me for the Liebster Award and I couldn’t be more excited! Jenny made her Liebster Award post here a  little while ago – but for those of you who didn’t get to see it, I will break down the rules nice and simple for ya.

Rules:

  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you by whoever nominated you.
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers with LESS than 200 followers.
  • Give 11 new questions to your nominees.  Now, I don’t know too many bloggers outside of Jenny – but I do know a few. So hopefully they will be able to answer my questions when I get finished with this.   

11 Facts About Meow

1. I am a Cartoonist & Illustrator while also working as a manager at my local Toy Store.

2. I didn’t really like beer until I started dating Mr. Ian, now I like it way more than mixed drinks.

3. My parents are both divorced and re-married, making my family tree somewhat difficult for new friends to understand. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

4. I have recently had to remove most dairy from my diet, but the one thing I will ALWAYS cave for is ice cream…tummy aches here I come!!

5. I stopped eating any sort of cow-related-meat in 8th grade when I realized that I just love cows way too much.

6. I first thought that I wanted to pursue a career in animation, but saw just how much work was needed to be able to pull it off correctly and knew I wouldn’t have the drive. I respect animators so much! I then thought I wanted to draw for Marvel or DC Comics, in the same style and everything. Once I realized that I simply can’t re-create those looks in my work I also came to find that I wouldn’t like working for either company as much as I thought (still love a bunch of the people who DO work there though!!).

7. I got my cat Miso for my 16th birthday and she has since become my cat-baby. Best birthday gift ever!

8. My favorite mediums to work with (on my artistic projects) are colored pencil to sketch and watercolor or gouache to paint. 

9. There are SO many different tattoos that I would like to end up getting in the future, I am just too poor right now. They include outlines of the silhouettes of my 3 house cats on my right arm, Blaze’s halter and lead rope on the opposite arm, a friendship tattoo with Jenny, and a giraffe on my back.

10. Mr. Ian and I have officially been together for 5 years! Go us!

11. My favorite color is red, my favorite color combos are black & white (so classy!) and pastel pink, lavender and mint green (so cute!).

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Sunday Reading 10-19-14 #9

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Another week went by. I went practically the whole week without sitting on the computer, and learning the joys of tablet using. (IE just browsing the internet!) Alexa stepped up and posted three times this week! Sweet. She had a bunch of posts that she has been working on, so she was glad to finally get them up.

I hope everyone is having a great time this October season. I’ve been watching a lot of horror films and drinking pumpkin beers with my husband. Forget pumpkin spice lattes, I am really into seasonal alcoholic drinks. So I just wanna take a moment to talk about scary movies. It is a love hate relationship. Horror films are known for being pretty weak, and mostly for thrills. So almost every year I get excited then annoyed at finding good horror films. Well, I really love Suspiria, the Italian horror directed by Dario Argento. So I watched the movie created after Suspiria, Inferno. Man. It was a mistake.

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Visually the movie was pretty awesome, and has a lot of cool scenes. But the plot was confusing and all over the place. The basic story is about Rose who lives in an apartment in New York City. She discovers unsettling information about the building she lives in. She sends an letter to her brother about it. Not reading the whole letter, her brother Mark arrives in New York not knowing what is distressing his sister. Once he gets into New York, he can’t seem to find her, and stays in her apartment to figure out the mystery.

I am not sure why Mark is the main character since he seems to be the thickest and most easily prone to witchcraft compare to all the characters. The first hour has a formula of female finds out the secret of the building, they become frantic, they start to run, they get killed in a horrible way, Mark walks in a is terribly confused. But the story hardly follows Mark around, and hardly any personality was given to him.

The movie has some merits. I personally love movies from the 70s about witchcraft or the occult. The color is the film is amazing, more so than Suspiria. The underwater ballroom scene was a great way of building suspense. There are plenty of extravagant deaths in the film, which I found in some ways a negative, but if that is what you are like, this movie will be a gem. 

I normally wouldn’t go on about a movie, but it just left me with such a downer. I love Suspiria, and it is one of the film I watch every year for October. So I was expecting so much from Inferno. Anyone else have some Halloween movie suggestions? I would love to hear them! But moving on, I know you want to see my favorite reads.

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Blog Recipe Round Up: Pumpkin Spice Edition

Hey guys! It’s me Jen! I’ve been missing all week due to really unpredictable electricity. For some reason the power randomly flickers which causes my computer to crash. It was happening so often, at random times of the day, that I just turned the computer off and ordered a battery backup. I kept the computer off until it came in the mail. Which has been cool since Alexa got time to post all her backed posts! Yey! So I hope everyone enjoyed reading those.

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I know everyone is excited for the fall and pumpkin spice everything! So I thought I would do a sampling over pumpkin spiced goods. Ranging from drinks, to syrups, to baked goods. But everything is sweet. Most were pretty good, but everything I think I would change ever so slightly. But check out which ones to give a try!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

This was really tasty. I was a little surprised how nicely it came together. I first used it in a soy latte in a coffee shop. It helped it was an amazing latte without the syrup, but the syrup added the perfect amount of sweetness and flavor. Though I might amp it up to 3 to 4 tbsp for more mediocre lattes.

The syrup also works well in smoothies. I used it to add some sweetness and flavor to my husband smoothies. It would also be a great topping to for various other snacks like yogurt bowls, cupcakes, cookies, or ice cream. It makes a lot of syrup, so I would recommend even halving the recipe so it doesn’t go bad in the fridge.

Bottom Line: Great to make for the pumpkin spice season, put it on everything.

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Alexa Watches Sailor Moon Crystal Act 2

Alexa Watches Sailor Moon

Woops! This is definitely an old drawing of me…but I still stand by it!

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Part of me feels as if the initial Sailor Moon craze has died down a bit – so I am even more sorry for the delay on these posts! The good news is, however, that I have plenty of material to catch up on. Again, the point of these segments is to simply look at the differences between each episode of the new release of Sailor Moon Crystal and the original adaptation of Sailor Moon. I originally wanted to go through and do EVERY episode…but then I remembered how long the original show ended up being. I am going to review the first arch at least and if I like where it is going I will go further with the reviews! But for now, we’ll start with episode 2…

In this episode we meet Sailor Mercury! It is very clear to me already that they are speeding the story up as opposed to the original, where you meet Mercury in episode 8. I actually don’t mind this so much. The viewer gets the idea that Sailor Moon, while the leader of the team, cannot defeat everything all on her own. It builds off the idea of togetherness and team work which is a really great model for girls (and even women) to see and put into practice. Not that every woman on earth needs to rely on someone else all the time, but we are all part of a team in one way or another, I think.

When Ami Mizuno is first introduced the only thing we know about her is that she has good grades. The best grades even, in the whole school. This leads to the other kids assuming that she has little to no friends because she is only ever seen studying, even on her lunch break during the day. When we catch up with Usagi and her friends they are chatting about how all Ami does is study, goes to cram school after school ends, and how her mother is a talented doctor. They all go on to assume that her family is loaded, puts her in the best cram school that money has to offer and that must be the reason for her expertise. Instead of making assumptions Usagi just listens and waits to figure out who Ami is for herself. This is a very interesting and good thing about her as a character. Most kids of that age (15-18) usually take the words of friends as fact, so for her to do some of her own investigation seems to make a strong trait. When they do eventually meet up, thanks to Luna who had been scouting her, Ami is immediately accepted by Usagi and they become fast friends. I also think that this is a good lesson to teach girls and women alike. I feel as though we’ve all been taught somehow to label each other or silently judge from afar, when in reality we could meet our new best friend if we’d just be open to it. 

 It was made very apparent that Luna’s “Secret Base” was actually in the basement or some hidden room in the arcade that Usagi would frequent. In this incarnation you just find her in some top secret facility. Again with the telling and not showing. It’s not the biggest deal in the world but I found it kind of fun to find out exactly where she ended up going to report back every night. 

The episode’s climax is Usagi trying to fight the Demon (controlled by Jadeite) to free Ami and the other kids who have been brainwashed at cram school. She can’t do it on her own and Ami transforms into Sailor Mercury! I think I said it in our last Sailor Moon post…but I REALLY dislike the cgi transformation sequence. I think it looks incredibly tacky and I don’t see the need for it. Yuck…but that’s besides the point. This episode was a good introduction for Ami and Sailor Mercury and it’s refreshing to see that we didn’t have to wait for seven episodes to pass before doing so.

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Concerts & Cape May

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Labor Day has come and gone, which means that Summer is making a swift exit. With the last “real” summer weekend going by, we all decided to go on a day trip down to Cape May to see the beach and the Brewery.

The night before we left my friends Jon, his brother Matt, Keith, Mr. Ian and I all went down to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park to see The Gay Blades play! I haven’t seen them in quite some time and they really put on a great show. I was first introduced to this band by my boyfriend and long-time-companda Mr. Ian. They are a local rock/alternative group (but on their facebook page they describe themselves as “Genre Trash pop”…I’ll take it) that reside in Brooklyn, NY. Their first two albums are excellent if you’re into that genre of music, and their concerts are like one giant party so I’d also recommend seeing them live if you ever get a chance!

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Here’s one of their most recent music videos off of their second album.

The next morning Keith, his wife Jenine, Mr. Ian and I got up nice and early to drive down to Cape May. I had been to Cape May a bunch of times when I was younger, my family would go with all the kids and make it into a fun day trip or a nice long weekend. It is a really pretty beach town with a lot to offer, and since it had been a while since any of us had gone it was all very new and fresh. We also decided that it would be a really nice wrap up to summer to hit the beach and be kind-of “shore tourists” for a day. Our first stop was a little restaurant called George’s Place. We stopped there on a whim and came to realize that they had an AMAZING breakfast menu (not too sure if it was very vegan friendly, but I remember it being veggie friendly). Whenever I get the chance to go out to eat for breakfast I always tend to lean toward the sweeter side of the menu — which lead to one of the most delicious waffles I think I have ever had.

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Quinoa Cauliflower Plate with Peanut Sriracha Sauce

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 Hey everyone … I finally MOFO’d!!! (It was definitely in September I SWEAR.)

I won’t lie to you, I have never actually made my own vegan meal before. That’s crazy right?! I have always just thought they would take a lot of time to prepare and I normally don’t have all of the ingredients that are necessary for them. When September rolled around Jenny told me about “Vegan Month of Food” and recommended that I try out a vegan recipe. I was definitely up for the challenge and then I found out that the recipe I made…wasn’t challenging! I was actually really proud of myself by the time it was done, and I like to cook, so I was happy during the entire preparation process.

I stumbled upon this recipe from Vegan Richa via Jen. She’s been following her (beautiful) blog for quite some time and now I am going to make it one of my favorite blogs too!

 For some reason I never seem to remember how much I love cauliflower until it happens to be in a dish that I make. I know that it’s really good for you, but I think I always find it to be daunting  when I see it in the grocery store and figure I’ll never finish the whole head. After preparing the cauliflower for this recipe I have continued to make it that way up until it was all gone. Hurray! This vegetable is just so versatile that I actually found myself saying “wait…save that because you could use it for this dish instead”. 

 I also love collard greens, but I find that I have a harder time figuring out how to prepare them as well. I have only ever had them once before this, and it was when my Step-Mother prepared them (oh, they were delicious) for us when my parents were living in South Carolina. I like the bitterness of the leaf as well as feeling like I am eating something good for me. Lettuce can be tricky sometimes! Anyway, this was also very easily prepared – just throw your greens into a pan with a smidge of sesame oil, pinch of garlic salt and a pinch of salt and you just wait until they are a bit wilted. Done! Delicious! 

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I’d made quinoa before, and while this was an easy preparation it never occurred to me to add things in while it was cooking. I don’t know why though, I guess it’s only because I never add anything to rice while it’s cooking and I make them the same way? The world may never know. 

The only thing that was REALLY intimidating me throughout this experiment was the Peanut sauce. On Richa’s site the recipe originally called for almond butter, which I neglected to purchase. Luckily Richa mentioned that the almond butter could be substituted for with peanut butter! I love peanut butter! 

I would definitely make this recipe again. It was a hit with everyone who tried it out and it was extraordinarily easy to make. I also think it has enough flavor but isn’t too intrusive so everyone can give it a taste without fear of disliking it. Thanks Richa! I will certainly be browsing her blog for more delicious recipes sometime soon. 

*Note: I actually had extra food after making this meal, which was great! I saved some for Mr. Ian to bring to work for lunch, and the rest I saved for myself for lunch! The only thing I didn’t have leftover after giving Ian his portion was the collared greens, and this recipe is so simple that all I had to do was throw it in the pan with some garlic powder and oil and it was done in just a few minutes. I was so so pleased with the overall outcome of this dish.

 

Sunday Reading 10-12-14 #8

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Sorry guys about the crazy stuff going on with the site the few days. Yesterday my host went down, and has been running slow in general. Then this morning the database disappeared and I was slightly worried I lost everything. Which wouldn’t of been cool.

Because of that, I didn’t get to post my most recent “Alexa Asks”, which is about calcium and your milks. And poor Alexa has been trying her cauliflower recipe that she originally made for Vegan Mofo. But they will most likely show up sometime next week.

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What’s the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes and yams were always a confusing matter for me. I remember being told that yams were totally different from sweet potatoes, and should never be subbed in a recipe. But the more I learned about the produce I was cooking with the more I got confused. I could taste or see a difference between sweet potatoes and yams. What’s the deal? The Kitchn settles the potato vs yam debate, and clears up why you are confused about it.

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Be the Deal Breaker: Multiply Your Influence at Non-Vegan Restaurants

Eating out can be scary when you are a vegan. There are lots of questions to ask, and lots of modifications to be made. But Liz Dee write about how you can make a bigger impact by being more vocal. I’ve worked at a restaurant, and I know how annoying special requests can be. But I understand completely that some people simply can’t eat certain things.  But no one is going to know that there are more vegans if you simply ask for replace yogurt with soy milk in your smoothie.

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I’m Sick of Nutrition Elitism!

Lindsay over at Happy Herbavore wrote a great article about nutritional elitism. She relates it specifically with veganism, and I know it has directly related to me. There is a difference between encouraging people to eat organic and scaring them to eat organic. Working at a health food restaurant I’ve seen the miserably strict. They never seemed too happy and I always wondered if it was because they were so strict with their diets. Our bodies are strong, and eating non-organic, GMO foods isn’t going to kill us.

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What Kids Around the World Eat

I love learning about what people around the world eat. Breakfast is growing to be my favorite meal to learn about. I actually do not like breakfast, sometimes I’ll treat my husband to pancakes or french toast, but I can safely never eat pancakes for the rest of my life and be okay with it. In the west breakfast is usually filled with preserved dairy and meat produces. Things that are easy to prepare. But looking at the food served across the globe, some of the plates have more veggies present and a couple look vegan even! 

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Last Week Tonight: Columbus Day

I’ve never fully cared about Monday holidays. When you work in retail or food, you are usually open. So Columbus Day is usually a day when my husband complains that I don’t have off. But more and more states are choosing to swap it out for a different holiday, mostly celebrating the people who were living in America before Columbus came. 

Our 100th Post!

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Shirt & Dress: H&M ‘Vintage’ | Tights: Gifted | Shoes: Modcloth

It has been so long since either of us have posted a fashion post! Part of it was because of Vegan Mofo, another part was just because I was being lazy over the summer. It isn’t my time to dress up, it is more like “what’s clean and coolest?” Well, Alexa came to Philly with me and we took some pictures of our CUTE outfits in a reconstructed herb garden in Old City. (Old City is the area where you will find Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell) Then we went to HipCityVeg for lunch, which was pretty awesome!

But my main reason for posting is that this is our 100th post! I can’t believe how far this blog has come already, and that I posted so much! I remember having the idea for the blog stewing in my mind for a year or so, and just never getting around to it. And yes, there are things I haven’t developed as much as I hoped, but it is still growing. So in this post I will talk about what we plan on working on with the blog:

Weekly Recipes & Alexa Asks

After Vegan Mofo, I kind-of started to get into the habit of making at least 1 recipe a week. And I want to keep that momentum going. Even if that means the recipe is just a smoothie, or cocktail. I think I have enough going on, and enough random weeknight improvisation going on to add new recipes that often. 

I also want to keep posting Alexa Asks every week. I have lots of questions from Alexa, or from other friends and people. Hopefully some people will be happy to post questions to be answered in future posts as well!

Monthly Ingredients, Recipe Round Ups and Cookbook Reviews

I’ve only done one cookbook review and one recipe round up, but that doesn’t mean I am not working on new ones. I have some recipe round ups started, and only a few more recipes to add to it. I also have started a detailed review of Vegan Eats World, and starting Isa Does It. So hopefully you guys will like that. 

Also pages explaining ingredients was going to be a big part of the site, and I have been super lazy about that. But I am going to work on it again, and I have three foods coming up: Gochujang, Cushaw, and Tomatillos. I hope at least one or more of those ingredients is making you raise an eyebrow! Alexa will be drawing cute pictures to go with them as well!

Alexa and I have some ideas for different features. We will keep them secret for now. But some sneak peaks will be themes like Sailor Moon month (wut?!) or Korean food month. There will be lots more, we will keep a little hush hush about it

Updated Shop

Hopefully I will get around to adding more to our little Etsy Shop. You can buy prints of drawings from the site, and I will be making sure they are constantly updated when we add new ones. We also have much more milk glass bud vases and vintage clothing to add. We want to have much more jewelry, shirts, etc featuring our food doodles. 

Moving off of Bloglovin

Okay, so this is a little weird one which really doesn’t effect the blog. Some people might of seen me, Jennifer, active on Bloglovin. If I stop following you, it doesn’t mean I stopped reading your blog. I am just trying to transition into Feedly. My computer is a little older and the Bloglovin format slows my computer down. I also like reading blogs on my tablet, and Bloglovin’s app totally messes up formatting. 

Our blog is still easy to follow via Bloglovin and our button link will stay over there. Truthfully, there are more foodies who use feedly, and we have over 150 followers on THAT platform, so why not make the switch?

Updating Our Side Bar

Yeah we need to do that. I think I need to make changes with our social media links, and blog links. Oh man those are outdated. There are so many new blogs I would love to link, and maybe divide them up by categories (fashion, food, feminism, etc) Maybe expand our social media outlets, though I am not sure what other people use. 

So those are our big plan. What do you guys think?

Spiced Pumpkin Carriage + Pumpkin Spice Syrup Recipe

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Everyone is pumpkin crazy anymore. It is pretty much pointless to deny it any longer- you need more pumpkin in your life. I think our current obsession might be because all the kids who grow up loving Halloween. So we reach and grab things vaguely related to Halloween that are more adult- like horror movie marathons. Or costume runs in graveyards. I feel like we clutch to pumpkins because of jack o’ lanterns. Maybe not. But I am not going to stop eating them.

I thought I would take it up a notch and make a drink just for vegans with pumpkins: The Spiced Carriage. There are two secrets to the cocktail- homemade pumpkin spice syrup and Snap. Snap is a spirit made by Art in the Age of Reproduction. They have several spirits that are inspired by old practices or traditions from American settlers. Snap has the perfect mix of spices that give the drink an extra depth. You can buy it online with Hi-Time Wine or you can search their store locator.

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Alexa came down to visit, and I knew I had to give her this cocktail. I also wanted to brainstorm names. I haven’t been too creative with food names, and cocktails usually have names that are more fun. Alexa came up with “The Spicy Ginger (Babe)” but my husband voted for my more fairytaled themed “Spiced Pumpkin Carriage”

I think I can safely say this is sort of like a Pumpkin Spice Latte in cocktail form. Okay there isn’t any coffee elements to it, but has that similar creamy and warm pumpkin feeling to it. Though I am now seeing that I could of put in a little Kona and gotten some yummy results. Oh well. Maybe next year…

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You’ll have to turn on the stove to make this cocktail. Well, you don’t have to, but if you want it to taste the best you should. I made a custom syrup for this drink, which can be used in coffee, or to sprinkle on top of desserts. Below is the recipe and you totally will want to make it ahead of time.

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Sunday Reading 10-05-14 #7

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Man, now that Vegan Mofo is over, my reading material has completely changed. Plus my mind has shifted gears. I am looking at old post drafts and thinking “Oh yeah, I should still post that!” But I think this week’s collection of reading materials really shows the shift. Yeah, some are vegan. Some aren’t. Some are VERY VERY not vegan. I debate how it relates to this blog even. But I just thought it was so cool that I had to share.

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Not All Who Blogs Bakes by Specs and the City

Melissa has a super cute photo collection of her recent baking journey. Not many words, but sometimes I think visuals are more powerful. I have a lot of beef with pinterest and blog. It creates weird standards. Perfect homes, crafts, cupcakes, holiday decor, clothes, drawings, cupcakes, cupcakes, oh and cupcakes. 

It seems that every blogger bakes and crafts, and that might not be everyone’s thing. It seems that there a cliches that are forming for female bloggers. Baking and fashion seems to go hand in hand. Melissa just made a photo series of her fight against blogging stereotypes rather that writing about it.

Side note- I am always down with ice cream and beer.

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The Future of Animal Rights & Vegan Teen Tips by The Vegan R.D

I think it is important that parents learn about veganism when their kids make the transition. There is a lot of confusion and myths that surround veganism, which can scare parents. Educating parents help keep them active with their children’s interest, and understand them better. It might not convert them, but might cut in their animal consumption.

The article gives some basic tips to make eating easier for teens. Parents can use the information for tips on what to look out for with their kids needs. Some tips are just for easy preparations. For example they suggest freezing extra grains for easy reheating. A tip that helps everyone out really.

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How to Dye Your Armpits by Offbeat Home

There seems to be a lot more buzz about armpit hair. I shave my armpits. I just don’t like the feel of hair there, and I have no idea how my husband bears it. I am fairly certain if I was a man I would still be shaving my armpits. But I really applaud women who are stepping up and are willing to let it all grow out because they just don’t like to shave there. It has become a HUGE social taboo. If I didn’t shave my legs, it would be okay. But armpits? It would make me a social outcast.

As I mentioned before, visuals can be louder than words. Something about saying “I want my armpits to match my cute hair” is a big smack in the face to social norms. It something that is really weird, but it looks so rad.

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Chinese Space Children Painting

I’ve got a weird soft spot for Soviet Realism and art for communist propaganda. Then there is the weird world of Chinese Space art. I’ve seen a few before, as a way to get children excited about space travel. But some paintings are simply put odd. Many include traditional gods and goddesses waving to children in space. Other make little to no sense, like a naked baby talking on the phone. This small collection is really fun, and I hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I do.

Yeah, this link has little to do with food, fashion, feminism, but it does have to do with art (my love) and little with Sailor Moon (both Alexa and my love). I mean Sailor Moon comes from a space colony from the moon. So these kids are just trying to find her. Right?

Jessica’s Feminized Atmosphere by The Daily Show

Both Alexa and I have had our fair share of cat calls when living in Philadelphia and New York City. Some people find it flattering, most don’t. I know that once I moved back to the burbs it really has made me paranoid. I cringe at thought of passing by men and construction sites on my walk to work. Most of the time it is honking from cars rather than shouts.

I love this short by Jessica Williams. She pokes a little fun at the situation, and brings some awareness of how messed up cat calling can get. And I can totally relate. I avoided walking by one side of a HOSPITAL since I was constantly being harassed by the men. Seriously, a hospital.

I remember having even guys at my school get cat called by other men. This really creeped them out, and probably helped them understand how girls feel. I mean shouldn’t they feel complimented that all these guys think they look good? Duh, no. It’s creepy and annoying. Yes, some people like it, but most people don’t.