Pride and the Right to Marry

Danitpride

 

This is my little sister.  I blogged about her last month when I went to Los Angeles for her college graduation.  I think my sister is absolutely one of the bravest people I know.  She’s also just a pretty darned awesome person and I’m lucky to have her as my sister.

When she was a senior in high school she called me one night in November.  I was living in LA at the time working on a master’s degree.  It was about ten o’clock at night and I was watching television with the bestie who was my roommate then and my boyfriend at the time.

She was so excited to tell me. . . that she was gay.  My response?  Yeah, I know.  Very anticlimactic and she still tells people about that when she talks about it.  She was so excited that I was the first person in the family she was telling and then I totally stole her thunder.

In all honesty, I think I’d always sensed, from the time she was in kindergarten, that she was gay.  But it was never a big deal in my book.  I used to kid that there was something in the water in my elementary or middle school because I seriously knew about ten people who came out to me in high school, including a somewhat middle school boyfriend, womp womp.

My second year of college I met a guy in my Shakespeare class.  He and I instantly developed an amazing camaraderie and I was somewhat interested in him.  It turns out he was married.  Also, in the middle of the quarter, he turned up to class with a black eye.  I was shocked and asked him what had happened.  He had come out to his wife (mother of his twin boys) the night before.  This dear friend of mine shared with me a little bit of his story.  He had sensed in high school that he was gay, but being from a small town in the Northwest and from a Christian family, when he told his father about it, his father told him to forget about it.  He then became involved with the woman he ended up marrying.

He was a few years older than I and a returning college student.  He eventually came out to his family, moved out of the small town and into Portland where he began seeing men seriously.  In so many ways he was happy and true to himself.

In 2004, in the midst of the Bush/Kerry election, Oregon was also voting on same sex marriage.  I was in a Family and Human Services program at University of Oregon and the people in my cohort were from a variety of walks of lives.  There were several in my close group of friends who were in same sex relationships.  It was a devastating blow to so many people I cared about when same-sex marriage was knocked off the tables in Oregon.

Over the last nearly decade I have watched as several different states have legalized gay marriage.  I have also watched as many states stood firmly against it.  The votes that took place yesterday in the Supreme Court: knocking down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

“Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was supported by four more liberal colleagues: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. (link).

The second was the Supreme Court dismissing the appeal for Proposition 8 in California.  This basically says that “private parties do not have any “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure banning gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock” (link)

I think my cousin’s Facebook status said it best: Sasha looked at me like I was crazy when I explained why I was watching tv this morning. “But Johnny and Collette’s mommies are already married and equal.” I started to explain and then stopped: her world won’t include gay marriage. It’ll just be marriage.

Sasha is three years old right now and I hope that she will see the day when everyone, including her amazing cousin Danit and all my wonderful friends who are in same sex relationships can marry legally just like myself and other heterosexual couples.

I am so excited about these huge accomplishments in the U.S. justice system and can’t wait to see where they go.  

 

Influenster-Spring Vox Box

So although the two boxes from influenster didn’t come at the same time-in fact the dish soap came to New York and I had the spring box sent to my parents house in Oregon because I didn’t know if it would arrive before I left New York, you are getting both reviews in two days!

To start off, influenster is fun in it’s own way.  You get to review the products you already use and talk about how great (or not so great) they are and you collect points, and I am sure a sucker for earning points!

This box was my first multi-gifted box.

Influenster box

As we know, all good things come in pink boxes (like my fave Birchbox which also comes in a bright pink box!

And the inside looked just as cool:

Influenster Spring Vox Box

I was super excited to try all the different products.  So here are my thoughts on the products:

Secret Outlast Deoderant

This definitely came at a good time!  I have no clue if my deodorant is in Brooklyn, Portland or some state in between!  I really like this Secret Outlast.  It’s a gel that you turn to get it up.  The smell is not overpowering and it goes on clear so I don’t have to worry about any deodorant lines on my plethora of dark colored clothing.  I’ve used Secret deodorants in the past and will probably go back to using them again.

TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes

Anyone who knows me knows I have a super sweet tooth.  I am not the type of person who has ever bought snack cakes or twinkies or any of those though.  I was excited that I got the TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes in S’mores as I love camp and what is more campy than making s’mores?  The taste was OK.  It was sweet and a good treat but not one that I would buy again or make a regular part of my life.

NYC New York Appelicious Glossy Lip Balm    NYC New York Appelicious Glossy Lip Balm

NYC New York Color Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm–definitely my most favorite part of the package!  I love the subtle red color and the smell and how easily it glides onto my lips!  I have it in my purse and have been using it non-stop the past two weeks!

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure

I was excited when I first saw these-Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure-the color was fun and they weren’t too long which I liked.  There was also a ton of sizes to try (I think there were something like 24 nails in the package as opposed to the Sally Hanson sticker polishes I usually use that has 16).  They were super easy to put on but they fell off while I was sleeping.  I’m not a big mover in my sleep so that was really disappointing.  Maybe for someone else it would stay on better.

Schwartzkopf Professional OSiS Dust It

I was not sure about the Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS Dust It product as I am indifferent to hair powders but decided to try it out this morning since i Had showered after work last night and so didn’t want to get my hair wet for my normal hair routine.  Immediately as I put this in, I felt my hair go crunchy feeling.  I tried to style it and go on but realized it was not a good choice when my mother asked me what was wrong with my hair.  I asked her what she meant and she said it looked more chaotic and not as nice as normal.  I felt my hair and it just felt gross to the touch.  This is definitely not a product I will be using again.

All in all, it was a fun box and I’m glad I got to try out a bunch of new products.  I really loved the deodorant and the lipgloss and the snack cake was fine.  I really didn’t like the hair powder and the press-on nails but hey, 2.5 out of 5 items ain’t bad!

I look forward to looking at more products!

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I received these gifts complimentary from influenster.com in exchange for my review of everything.

Influenster Box-Palmolive Dish Soap

So how many people actually like doing dishes?  I’m going to venture to guess not many.  One of the worst things about living in New York (besides the tiny kitchens and shared bathrooms!) was the fact that we didn’t have a dishwasher.  I’ll be honest, this made me less inclined to cook.  There are definitely dishes I will put into the dishwasher and dishes that I will was by hand (pots, knives, anything wooden, etc) but nothing is worse than making a huge meal and then have to go back and wash all the dishes.  So I’m quite glad to be back in the land of personal bathrooms and dishwashers!

But right before I left New York, influenster was kind enough to send me two full sized Palmolive soft touch dish soap.  I felt super lucky because I know a lot of people had broken bottles full of dish soap and mine was intact.  I received a coconut one and a pretty pink vitamin E.

I gave the coconut to my biffle and kept the pink one to bring back to Oregon with me.  Both my mom and I have been using the vitamin E for about three weeks now and really love it.  It’s getting our orange juicer clean every morning (yes, one of the amazing benefits of living at home with my mother is a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice every morning!  I also love the smell and the cute pink color ain’t so bad either.

Palmolive and the Biffle

 

The biffle, posing outside our fabulous brownstone, also enjoyed it.  She loved the fresh coconut smell and was thrilled to have received a full bottle of dish soap right when she had run out of it.

She took a coupon and we gave some to her mother who just moved to a new place and definitely needed dish soap!

I will definitely be purchasing Palmolive dish soap again and appreciate the opportunity that influenster and Palmolive gave me to write my first review!

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I received this item as a gift from Palmolive but all opinions are my own.

Foodie Fridays-Mesa

I am so way behind!  Right after I decided to move back to Portland, the bestie and the biffle and I tried to go to a few of the restaurants on our must eat at list.  We actually did pretty well, I think we hit four or five of them in about two and a half weeks!

One of them was Mesa, Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  This happened to be right by the biffle’s work so it was easy peasy for her to make it and the bestie and I met her at her office.

Mesa is definitely Mexican food and I am quite sensitive to spice (although I have gotten better with the years) AND I HATE HATE cilantro (so does my mom-genetics!) so it was somewhat difficult finding stuff that I would like and the other two would feel had heat but we did good.

We started off with some drinks (all virgin tonight, it was a work night after all)

Drinks-Mesa

 

The bestie got a beer that I couldn’t describe because I’m not a beer drinker.  The biffle got a lemonade but quickly switched to my beautiful pink drink.  I got a virgin prickly pear margarita and it was DEEEELICIOUS!  I definitely could have had more of these and would have loved the tequila in them as well.

We split two appetizers: Rough Cut Tuna Nachos with Mango-Habanero Hot Sauce and Avocado Crema and Cremini Mushroom Quesadilla with fontina, ricotta, a fried egg and salsa verde.

Mesa Appetizers

 

Both were really good but I definitely found that there was too much hotness and cilantro in the rough cut tuna which made me sad because I love raw fish.  I ended up enjoying the quesadilla much more.

The bestie went pescetarian and got the side of spinach.  He got the Ancho Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with a spicy black bean sauce, tomatilla salsa and a roasted jalapeno crema with a side of spinach.  Not my personal choices but I didn’t have to eat them and he really enjoyed them!

Russell Main Course Mesa

 

Sorry for the horrid photography-I’m working on that one :).

The biffle and I split two main dishes: Grilled Lamb Porterhouse Chops with blackberry-cascabel barbecue sauce and collard greens with smoked chiles and Crispy preserved duck with a pink peppercorn-honey lime glaze served with wild rice tamale and sage butter.

Rachel and Jen Main Mesa

 

Both were incredibly tasty but I actually fell in love with the rice stuffed tamale.  So good and delicious!

Three of us so three desserts to split:

Mesa Desserts

 

The one to the left is sticky toffee pudding with salted cajeta and vanilla bean ice cream. The top one is deep dish banana pie with praline wafer and hazelnut brittle and the bottom right one is Chocolate pretzel tart with spicy peanut butter-chocolate swirl ice cream.

I went in expecting to love the last one because seriously, what could be better than chocolate and peanut butter mixed together?  Then I took one bite of the spicy ice cream and was no longer so happy.  I am not a huge banana dessert fan but I ended up LOVING that banana pie.

Overall, Mesa was a good restaurant albiet probably not one I would run back to when I visit.  But I enjoyed.

From East to West with a dad and a cat

I have been back in Oregon two weeks tomorrow and I’m adjusting back into what life is here.  I’m sorry I’ve been somewhat absent.

So on June 1st I left New York and began driving to Portland.  Let me start by saying that my father is absolutely amazing.  With less than a month notice, he booked a flight, a car and took time off work to drive with me from Brooklyn to Portland.  It took five days and we hauled butt!

Here are some pics of our trip and the highlights:

Goodbye New York

 

Driving from Brooklyn through Manhattan–it was a good three year run!

Traffic Jam in New Jersey

 

Not a great start–three miles in 2.5 hours–a horrible accident in New Jersey.

Amish in Ohio

 

A horse and buggy in Ohio.

Dinner in Wisconsin

Dinner in Wisconsin

the one big city we drove through in the entire country--Chicago

the one big city we drove through in the entire country–Chicago

The Cat in Minnesota

The Cat in Minnesota

Driving Dad

Driving Dad

A Bull

A Bull

 

Me and my cute hat

Me and my cute hat

Dad's favorite restaurant

Dad’s favorite restaurant

Dad in South Dakota

Dad in South Dakota

Exit to Wall Drugs

Exit to Wall Drugs

Me at Wall Drugs

Me at Wall Drugs

Dad at Mount Rushmore

Dad at Mount Rushmore

Beautiful Mount Rushmore

Beautiful Mount Rushmore

Father and Daughter at Rushmore

Father and Daughter at Rushmore

Cutie Kitty
Cutie Kitty
Wyoming Breakfast

Wyoming Breakfast

Pistol Wall

Pistol Wall

Pistol Pete's

Pistol Pete’s

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana

Tri Cities

Tri Cities

First sign to Portland!

First sign to Portland!

Beautiful Mount Hood

Beautiful Mount Hood

Initially I was slightly nervous about traveling over 3,200 miles in a vehicle with 7 boxes, 5 suitcases, 6 pictures, a cat and my father but I was pleasantly surprised.  My father was an amazing travel partner (even if he did only let me drive two hours the entire trip!)

Driving is also a super unique way of seeing the country-one that I never realized how much fun it is.  I will definitely always remember this time with my dad as a truly special time and I really will always appreciate what he did to help me!

Breakdown of the trip according to my father’s facebook page:

Day 1: Brooklyn, New York – Cranberry, Pennsylvania (420 miles)
• States: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
• 2 ½ hour delay in NJ due to traffic accident

Day 2: Cranberry, Pennsylvania – Tomah, Wisconsin (695 miles)
• States: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin
• Some traffic jamming in Chicago

Day 3: Tomah, Wisconsin – Gillette, Wyoming (895 miles)
• States: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming
• Wall Drugs, Mt. Rushmore

Day 4: Gillette, Wyoming – Richland, Washington (946 miles)
• States: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington

Day 5: Richland, Washington – Beaverton, Oregon (244 miles)
• States: Washington, Oregon
• Lunch w/Nora & Danit

Thanks, dad for being an awesome dad!!!!

 

Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap!

So my first swap went so well, I’ve decided to sign up for another one!!!

booksandbloggersJUNE13

I am super excited to participate in this one because I LOVE reading!!  This one is put on by the same awesome people who did mug o’comfort, and as you recall, I got some pretty awesome stuff!  This one ends with me getting three books–couldn’t make me happier!  I can’t wait to get shopping!!

If you are interested in joining in, click on through:

Chaotic Goddess Swaps Books ‘n’ Bloggers Signup Post