to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 12

to do lists of the semi-adult

Adult Christmas is hard. When you’re little, you basically just have to show up for presents on Christmas morning. Now we have to do the shopping and the cleaning and the cooking all while working full time. If you’re in the middle of holiday stress, you aren’t alone.

Jewels and I are struggling a little to get it all done, but we’re getting there one to-do list at a time. In this episode, we talk about dealing with a crisis around the holidays (everyone’s ok now), when to mail your gifts, and what we do to get ready for the New Year.

In our lightning round, Jewels talks about finishing her amazing Starry Night cross stitch. I have been reading Sex Criminals and ODY-C, and Jewels has just caught up with Serial. We both cooked last week–Jewels made beefy mushroom soup and I made a delicious pasta from Blue Apron with cauliflower and capers.

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

more women please (on women in books and comics)

comics rae's reading

I love the Harry Potters, the Quentins, and the Kvothes of the literary world. They are believable, flawed characters who are a hell of a lot of fun to read about. But sometimes I just get tired of watching boys have all the fun and get all the glory.

Not to say there’s not terrific women characters in these books as well. Harry Potter, the Magicians, and the Kingkiller Chronicles (my small, biased sample) all have really interesting, varied women who do real things that influence the story.

But I want to see more leading ladies.

This doesn’t mean we need fewer great adventure stories with men at the helm, it means we need more of them with women leads. It doesn’t take anything away from the complexity and enjoyment of what’s already out there to add to what’s already good. More women, more diversity, more stories. Because from that we get sharper and more human storytelling, which can only be a good thing.

A few weeks ago I asked on Facebook for recommendations of books with women leads (specifically fantasy or quest adventures because that is what I like). We came up with a great list that includes Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Mary Robinette Kowal’s glamourist histories, the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, and more. (And I’m assuming we all already know about Divergent and the Hunger Games.)

I haven’t read all the books we talked about–I’m putting Mistborn at the top of my list. What I have read this year that I’ve been really excited about is comics. I’m relatively new to the comics world–I first read Saga and Sandman last year–and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long. The books I’ve read this year have diverse, provocative storytelling based on complex human (and not so human) characters.

And by chance, just about every series I’ve picked up this year has a woman lead: Saga, Sex Criminals, Wytches, and ODY-C.

I couldn’t have planned a better introduction to comics than Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, if I tried. It is a creative, complex space …saga (sorry!) and it’s touching and funny and brutal and smart. Hazel, the daughter of two lovers who are on the run from their warring home planets narrates Saga, so we are literally in the head of a woman telling this story. Alana, Lying Cat, Izabel, Gwendolyn and more (more! there’s so many great women in this comic I can’t even list them all) make sure that women are not only included, but they are at the forefront of this story.

In many fantasy stories I get super bored reading sex scene after sex scene from a straight man’s perspective that focuses on the size and shape and smoothness (barf) of some girl’s breasts. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals is just as dirty as it sounds, but the perspective on sex (and life) comes from Suzie, the main character who can freeze time when she orgasms. Sex criminals is full of sex and crime (obviously, I guess), but it’s really a story about being vulnerable to another person and being brave enough to share your fears and secrets with the world. It takes themes of gender issues, sexuality, and hiding who you are and mixes them with bank heists, sex toys, and intergalactic police.

I love horror, but finding leading women in horror is few and far between. (Can you think of some? Let me know). Lucky for me, Scott Snyder, Jock, and Matt Hollingsworth’s Wytches’ lead is a young girl, Sailor, who moves to a new town where something is lurking in the woods. Sailor and her family are trying to escape a tragedy and make a new start, but the wytches don’t appear to forgive and forget. Wytches takes on fear, bullying, and family–which at times can be pretty scary, am I right?

I heard some buzz about Matt Fraction and Christian Ward’s ODY-C before I read issue no. 1, which just came out a few weeks ago, and, boy, is it earned. The absolutely stunning art accompanies an updated version of the Odyssey. Set in space, this Odyssey is full of women. Just about every character is a woman (or a sebex), and there’s warriors, lovers, parents, and, of course, Captain Odyssia. It was a blast to read and I can’t wait for issue no. 2.

If you, like me, are thirsty for new and exciting characters of all kinds, please check out some comic books. If I never picked one up I’d be missing out on some of the best stories of the year.

 

new outfit: errands on a chilly day

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It’s the day before Thanksgiving! Time to do any last minute errands and traveling before the cooking begins. If you have any running around to do, I hope it goes quickly, safely, and that the weather isn’t too bad.

Over the weekend when I was running my own errands I wore my new Michael Kors coat from Macy’s, my scarf from the boys section at H&M, plus jeans, boots, and furry earmuffs that are stables in my winter wardrobe. (Probably they all came from Macy’s too, but I cannot remember.)

I’ve hopped over to Kansas for a few days to see my family, and I’m very glad to be here. Wishing you and yours a great holiday.

let’s talk about sex (criminals)

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When I was reading Sex Criminals, I saw one of my most embarrassing real life moments play out in the pages. But when it happened to Suzie instead of me, it was a lot funnier.

My embarrassing moment happened when I was in college and I went to the student health center. (A lot of stories probably start this same way.) I don’t remember the specifics of what was wrong with me or why I went there, and if I did I probably wouldn’t say, but I do vividly remember the doctor seeing a mark on my skin. And I remember them not knowing what it was.

So they called in a few more doctors. And a few other nurses. And any one else they could find. To look at me, partially dressed, and an unknown mark on my skin. That they must have decided was nothing because I don’t remember being treated for it, or ever finding out what it was.

Suzie’s moment came when she went to talk to her gynecologist about birth control. Instead of finding an irregular mark, Suzie’s young, attractive doctor found her textbook-perfect cervix. And called in every intern at the doctor’s to see it, too.

For a young woman with a questionable sexual event in her own life who gets shot down every time she tries to talk about it, having people line up to look at her cervix probably doesn’t even make her top five biggest embarrassments.

The greatest part of Sex Criminals isn’t the relatable characters, or the funny moments, or even the great art–it’s that this comic takes deeply embarrassing stories that no one ever wants to talk about and turns them into the funny, charming main event. And doing so makes it a little easier to laugh and talk about it in your own life.

Suzie realizes as a teenager that she can make time stop when she orgasms (as if sex isn’t confusing enough for teenagers without a super power). She spends time alone in the Quiet, as she calls it, until she meets Jon, who has the same mysterious gift. Then they spend time in the Quiet together. And that’s when things begin to get (even more) interesting.

Sex Criminals is so fun and one of my favorite comics this year (though the subject matter may not be for everyone, and definitely this is not a comic for kids, if the title didn’t give it away). The first volume is out now, volume two will be out in February, and you can pick up current issues at your local comic book store or on Comixology. It’s also in the final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards. Cast your vote for your favorite comic!

to do lists of the semi-adult: episode 11

to do lists of the semi-adult

In this episode, Jewels and I talk about planning for Christmas. I know–Christmas before Thanksgiving?! But part of being a semi-adult is thinking ahead, so here we go.

Jewels and I love Christmas cards (and most other things about Christmas). Jewels has a Pinterest board dedicated to couple’s holiday card ideas, just in case you can’t find a snowy lodge and perfect winter scene for a photo card before you need to get them printed. Jewels has previously done something like Minted’s Year-In-Review card.

I am really into buying cards because I can’t get it together enough to make them on time. I love Barnes and Noble’s holiday cards on sale. And dollar stores have some good affordable options. I am really, really into the idea of an address stamp (like this one) to make things go faster. Elise Joy recommends the Simon Stamp.

We also talked about making small gifts for our friends (like ugly sweater tree ornaments, coffee cozies, monogrammed coffee mugs and Insta-magnets). I also talked about my family’s cool Christmas camp, which you should definitely do with your family at Christmas. If you have any Christmas planning ideas, let us know!

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or by using our feed link. You can also always find them on my Podcast page. You can find me right here at Rae’s Days, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Jewels is at Oven Lovin, on Instagram and on Twitter.

#fatcat

#fatcat cisco

Cisco passed away Oct. 27 from thyroid cancer. Thank you all for your comments and cards, it means a lot. 

The last time he sat on my desk to get my attention while I was working on something other than petting him, did I let him sit there, or did I move him so I could finish work? I can’t remember. Does it matter? He’s sat there a hundred times, and I’ve probably had to move him a hundred other times. He still came back, and he still knew he was loved, and welcome.

But that last time he sat on my arms as I tried to type, did I cuddle with him or did I pick him up and move him to the floor?

I go over and over the last day, the last week, in my head. How much pain did he feel? How much love did he feel?

He slept on the bed with me his last night. He woke up sometimes, and I did, too. He sat on my legs, as he did countless times before. I miss that weight.

I can hardly look at his favorite ottoman, but I can’t put it away either because then it would be alone and cold, and I don’t want something he loved to be alone and cold, even if it’s just a piece of furniture.

I know he had a great life. I know in my heart that he was ready to go, I could see it in his eyes. But sometimes your brain fucks with you anyway and you think maybe there was something you missed, maybe the vets were all wrong. (There wasn’t, they weren’t.)

He had a big meow and a bigger personality. He was the friendliest, sweetest, funniest cat you’d ever meet. He liked to drink water from the sink and to play laser with Michael and to eat ham, his favorite treat.

But most of all he liked to love and to be loved. He never got tired of being pet. He would follow you around the house–even when I lived in a studio. He was a social cat who loved to be touched, and you don’t find many of those. He would go to bed when I went to bed. Sometimes next to my head, leaning on the pillow, and sometimes on my legs, but mostly he’d go to his cat bed, on a dresser next to me. He’d curl up, and we’d sleep, and then we’d face the day together in the morning.

Looking at pictures of him helps. I want to drown in memories of him, of how his fur felt and how his purr sounded. I’m afraid I’m going to forget how it felt to pick him up and hold him.

I am devastated he is gone. But I am also grateful for him. Cisco was a true friend, and he showed me a wonderful love. I miss him every minute.

 

weddington way october style challenge

Bright bridesmaid

I love talking about weddings. I am definitely the friend to turn to if you want to talk flower arrangements or bridesmaid dresses, or seating charts, or veils, or just about anything else. Maybe because the weddings I have been involved in have all been chill and wonderful, and maybe because I have never been married, but wedding planning has yet to send a shiver down my spine. I am stoked, always, to talk about your wedding. Especially if it’s discussing what someone is wearing.

So when Weddington Way invited me to participate in their October Style Challenge, I was all in. Designing my own bridesmaid look? Sounds like a blast. You can see their current bridesmaid collection here.

weddington way bridesmaid dress

I started with the Alfred Sung D462 bridesmaid dress in French Gray. I love gray, and I wear it all the time. I love how versatile it is–you can basically dress it up any way you want. And I usually want to set it off with something bright.

In my (fake) wedding, the bride likes classic–with a twist. Her colors are gray and yellow. Her bridesmaids are wearing gray with beautiful bright jewelry and accessories. But their make up and nails are a simple pale pink.

raes day sweddington way bridesmaid illustration