Katniss Everdeen and Gender Roles in Relationships

Katniss Everdeen and Gender Roles in Relationships

| November 25, 2013 | 0 Comments
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in Catching Fire. LionsGate

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in Catching Fire.

Much has been said, and rightly so, about Katniss Everdeen and the way she challenges a lot of traditional narratives about girls. She carries a bow, she fights, she kills, she survives, she’s emotionally unavailable, she’d rather act than talk, and … did we mention she kills?

But one of the most unusual things about Katniss isn’t the way she defies typical gender roles for heroines, but the way Peeta, her arena partner and one of her two love interests, defies typical Hollywood versions of gender roles for boyfriends.

-What Really Makes Katniss Stand Out? Peeta, Her Movie Girlfriend

by Linda Holmes

Linda’s article (quoted above) discussing one of the more often ignored, but none the less awesome parts of the Hunger Games franchise, the reversal of gender roles in love, is pretty awesome. I know what it is to be the Katniss of the relationship. I know what it is to be emotionally unavailable, a little cold and a bit hard to read because of my steadfast and singular focus. Oddly enough, I myself ended up with a real-life Peeta. It literally just hit me how many of the relationship nuances (sans the dystopian, post apocalyptic kiddie death-match)  I could draw from my relationship to that of Katniss and Peeta. But one thing I must say is:

As awesome as Katniss is for kicking those traditional video game and movie tropes (no self identity outside of the male lead, weak, requiring rescuing, hypersexualized , etc) in the butt, Peeta is equally as awesome for his dismantling of popular male tropes.

BTW: A million thank you’s to TV Guide Network for tickets to the LA Red Carpet premier. I had a blast!



11 Lessons the Modern Woman Can Learn from “Jane Eyre”

11 Lessons the Modern Woman Can Learn from “Jane Eyre”

| November 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

Jane-EyreIf you have not read Jane Eyre, believe me when I say, you’re missing out! It is worth downloading from audible or iTunes and listening to on the commute to work or while traveling for the holidays.

When I finally read the book after being obsessed with about 3 version of the film, I literally told my husband (and anyone who would listen) that it was one million times better than the movie.

Personally, the book somehow left me feeling empowered and with some strange new clarity. I took a moment to make out with my husband, read my bible and commune with my creator.

I personally surmised many of the points raised in the Huff Post article, 11 Lessons That ‘Jane Eyre’ Can Teach Every 21st Century Woman About How To Live WellThe list is worth reading and so is the book.

Check out the article for the complete list, but here are my favorites:

1. You can overcome your past, no matter how bad it is. Jane Eyre is tortured and made miserable as a child by her horrible relatives. I seriously cried through the whole first half of the book at how cruel the people who raised her were. Her cousin, John, is the worst. He constantly reminds her that she’s an orphan, the children exclude her from their games, she is punished by being locked in the room that her uncle died in. Jane at first harbors grudges. She confronts her aunt before she leaves for boarding school, and essentially cuts this family out of her life. Who wouldn’t? But she learns a lot about letting go when she is sent to boarding school and befriends a sickly girl named Helen. As Helen notes, ““Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”

4. Loving and respecting yourself is essential, and is the key to independence. When that naggy inner voice we all have in our heads confronts Jane and asks her who will care for her now that she has left Rochester, she responds with, “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” Jane knows that marrying this man, who is already married to another, is wrong, no matter how much she loves him. She has too much love and respect for herself to marry someone who has so misled her (although I know, I know. She DOES marry him later. But by that point, she has had enough time to reflect on and think about the situation thoroughly and come to her own conclusions, rather than let Rochester convince her that marrying would be okay).

When Will I Be More than the Janitor’s Daughter

When Will I Be More than the Janitor’s Daughter

| October 29, 2013 | 1 Comment

I went to this awesome Women in Business conference this past weekend at this classic and prestigious university. There was this professor, this word wizard, who in the midst of a myriad of great and profound sentences told us do something. My memory, a bit hazed to her exact words, simply recalls the general request to own both the good and the bad of our personal histories. In the midst of pseudo middle class play perfection, of domestic bliss and of professional mountaineering, I was ripped to a place where I asked myself a simple question:

When will I stop being the janitor’s daughter?

My mother was spit on.

My mother was called a nig*er.

My mother work for less than minimum wage.

My mother struggled with feelings of depression and worthlessness.

When will I disown the feelings of inadequacy born out of  the socio-economic status of my parents?

Though much of what she experienced is not part of my adult life journey. What my mother experienced has, to a significant degree, shaped my adult life journey.

I’m not ashamed my mother was a janitor, I’m regretful that this fact somehow caused me years of a steady feeling of worthlessness and humiliation. I should be proud my mother was a janitor. In a world where women are left to die if for some reason their husbands/fathers/brothers are unable to provide for them. In a world where an able-bodied woman may be forced to watch her children starve to death because tradition excludes her from the workplace. I should be proud to say that my mother WORKED and fed us, she clothed us and did her best to love us when should did not know how to love herself.

So today, my dear blog readers, I come to peace with and in fact publicly embrace, I am a janitor’s daughter. I was born poor and told I was ugly and destined for poverty. But, I grew up to be rich in spirit, in love and in the opportunity to fulfill the mislaid dreams of my fore-bearers.


Easy Creepy Halloween JELL-O Worms

Easy Creepy Halloween JELL-O Worms

| October 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

Yummy and creepy

Any holiday presents this awesome opportunity to create genuine and long lasting family traditions and opportunities for bonding.  Our little ones were so curious about what Mommy and Auntie were making and the finished product drew tons of squeals and hilarious screams, with giggles that were very infectious. Try this easy  to make JELL-O worms recipe and it is sure to be a hit.

JELL-O Worms Recipe


Makes about 100 worms


1 (6 ounce) box Raspberry JELL-O
1 package unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups boiling water
15 drops green food coloring
100 flexible, bendy straws


1. Mix the gelatin, JELL-O and slowly add boiling water. Cool to lukewarm, then add the IMG_4172whipping cream and 15 drops green food coloring.

2. Gather straws together and place into large empty container like a 1 quart milk container.We used an old juice bottle.

3.Pour the gelatin mixture over the straws and chill for about 8 hours, or until firm.

4. To remove, simply hold the straws under warm water until they come loose and gently squeeze one end to push out. This is the part that you can really get the whole family involved in!

JELL-O has many Halloween themed recipes to inspire your own creepy and yummy family traditions:

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

12 Years a Slave Thinks About Women as People Rather Than Accessories, Unlike Django

12 Years a Slave Thinks About Women as People Rather Than Accessories, Unlike Django

| October 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Fox Searchlight Pictures


Of the multiple articles I have read about both Django and 12 Years a Slave individually, Noah Berkatsky created an interesting juxtaposition about the portrayal of women and their narrative within the context of a male voice:

…Because when masculinity is the story, women are pushed to the sidelines. In Django, the main romance of the film is between Django and his white buddy; the second is between Django and the evil slave Stephen—and lagging far behind in third is the relationship between Django and his wife, who functions more as a prize than as a person. For its part, Glory barely has a female speaking role; like Django, all its energy goes into inter- and intra-racial male bonding.

12 Years a Slave though, doesn’t present masculinity as a solution to slavery, and as a result it’s able to think about and care about women as people rather than as accessories or MacGuffins. Other than Northup, in fact, the most vivid slave characters are female…

Full article at The Atlantic.

Please note that I am in so much TV show debt (with a full DVR and Hulu watchlist to prove it) that I have very little time to watch movies. I have not watched Django, as for 12 Years a Slave,  I will muster the strength to watch this film in theaters. I have some fancy influential blogger pals who still can not fully describe what they experienced when they attended the advanced screening, but I have read more than one post about the deeply profound impression the film makes.

Renewed Hope in Global Child Survival

Renewed Hope in Global Child Survival

| September 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

child mortality

One of my passions in life is helping to improve the livelihoods of the underserved and the underrepresented domestically and abroad.  FYI “underserved populations” include, but are not limited to, members of immigrant or ethnic groups, rural residents, urban or rural youth, unemployed people and homeless people. 

Socially and medically underserved populations often have the worst infant mortality rates. In 1990, almost 13 million of the worlds children five and under died of mostly preventable disease.

All too often the statistics surrounding infant mortality are daunting and overwhelmingly sad. In response to the startling numbers, the global community pledged to improve child mortality rates by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. The 2013 UNICEF child mortality progress report brings another year of great news. The total deaths of children under-five declined from 12.6 million to 6.6 million!

Let that soak in, its a huge and important deal!

There are those that feel that global social good efforts are hopeless and pointless. That committees and groups forming and pledging to improve the livelihoods of the countless individuals suffering in and outside our communities are fighting a losing battle. Here is a little evidence that declares otherwise!

Due to global efforts, 17,000 fewer children die each day in 2012 than did in 1990. There is more work to be done to achieve the global child survival goals by 2015, but we have to take the time to rejoice in what has already been achieved.

You can also learn more about what you can do to improve child survival rates on UNICEF’s interactive progress report.


I’m a proud member of Mom Bloggers for Social Good.

three sisters Naturally Yummy Cereals

three sisters Naturally Yummy Cereals

| September 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

three sisters cereal

This past Friday, I ran to my local Whole Foods (“Natural”) Supermarket because Grass-fed beef was on one day sale for 4.99 lb, which was about $3 off per pound. Check this post to find out why grass-fed beef is, in my opinion and others, a superior choice. While I was picking up a few of my only found at Whole Foods locally items, I noticed that a gentleman was stocking the shelves with a Buy 1 Get 1 Free natural cereals.

Let me clarify, that natural in today’s marketplace is an abstract term that is not federally regulated and is often debated. My personal definition includes ingredients I can fathom without research, lacking sketch preservatives (that often kill or cause lab rats to be sickly) like BHT, lacking non-naturally derived food coloring. More often the foods I consider natural are sometimes labeled to be free of genetically modified ingredients, are sustainably made and may or may not be organic. You have to make personal judgements on the character of the brand and business.

I have an ongoing battle in my household with cereal, my husband and sister miss the cereals of their youth. The problem is almost all the cereals in traditional US supermarkets use BHT, a carcinogenic toxin, as the primary preservative. Last I checked, this low cost preservative is banned in nearly every industrialized country except for the United States (great job FDA).

three sisters cereal

So when I saw these BOGO cereals that had some of the variety of our childhood cereals, I had to buy them. I’m happy to say that not only am I pleased, they exceeded the desires of my family. The Cinnamon Sweet, Cocoa Snapz, Honey Oaties and Multigrain Cinnamon are delish. Three Sisters, the cereal brand, boast making their products with renewable wind energy and using environmentally friendly packaging. At Whole Foods they are $3.99 a bag and on BOGO sale at some locations as of the week of this post. I will be going back to BOGO a few more and stock up on cereal for a while.

Please note, no one paid me to write this. I bought some cereal because it was on sale and the guy stocking the shelves said he tried them an really like them.