Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

RWS2I remember reading this book sometime in high school and it being one of my favorites, and I recently reread it after discovering that a movie had been made based on the memoir. Running With Scissors – both the book by Augusten Burroughs and the movie starring Joseph Cross, Alec Baldwin, Gweneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood and more – is a story worth paying attention to. The book highlights true events from Augusten ‘s childhood, where he was basically given away to his shrink, Dr. Finch, by his mentally unstable mother.

RWS3

The ridiculousness of the Finch family is what draws you in: from the Masterbatorium (it’s exactly what you think it is), to eating dog food as a casual snack, to the breastloons (balloons, one on each boob). These characters are incredibly fascinating and over the top. The house is always an absolute mess, there are no rules, and almost every relationship is inappropriate in some way. He writes so open and raw and I hang onto every word in every story. I love his level of extra and dramatics, the need for everything to be over the top and extravagant. I flew through the book even faster than I did the first time.

RWS 4Just watching the trailer for the movie had me already laughing. It seemed, at first glance, to ring very true to the book. When the Dr. was seen running down the hall to knock on everyone’s doors to wake them up, I knew immediately that was in regard to the toilet bowl readings. The RWS 5book is truly one of my favorites, so I was overly eager to see this eccentric cast come to life. The movie stays super true to the book throughout the entire movie, down to a lot of the dialogue between characters. It even shows Augusten dressing the dog up with tin foil – though young Augusten wasn’t the greatest child actor in the world.

RWS 6There was a scene in the book where the mom describes her openness in life by describing a friendship she had with a black girl growing up. In telling this story, she uses the N word to portray the way the world was at the time. I was wondering if this scene would be portrayed in the movie, and since it’s rated R, it sure was included. However, most of the sex scenes were taken out. Augusten describes his first sexual experience with 30+ year old Neil Bookman, and the visuals of walking in on his mother with the minister’s wife. These were largely skipped over on screen.

RWS 7Neil Bookman’s character was kinda exaggerated, I don’t recall him being quite unhinged in the way they created him in the movie. Though he was just as unstable as the rest of them, they really made him wig out on screen – including a dramatic scene where he brings a knife to Finch’s throat, who is lying in bed. That’s all Hollywood I guess. Aside from that, most of the movie was very accurate to the story and highly entertaining as well. 

RWS1

The book can be found wherever books are sold, and I highly recommend both the book and the movie. I was unable to find somewhere to watch the movie for free online, though it can be rented from Amazon Prime Video or YouTube for about $5, which is also what it cost me to just go ahead and buy the DVD.

Thanks for reading!

The Sandy Hook Promise

sh3As I’ve been watching different shows via apps on my phone while at my desk, I’ve seen a couple of impactful commercials regarding back to school safety. Because school shootings are such a relevant issue within America, there’s a lot more safety concerns for students than ever before. From elementary schools to college campuses, the fear of active shooters is real.

sh4

The commercials featured different items that children received for back to school needs, while scenes of a school shooting play out in their surroundings. A skateboard is used to break a window to escape, and a young girl in hiding is able to text her mom from her new phone to say “I love you”. This truthfully doesn’t seem overly dramatic of actual events that have and could happen any day in the U.S. One of my coworker’s son’s school was closed last week due to a possible shooting threat. The fear is honestly real. To read 16 facts about gun violence and school shootings provided by the Sandy Hook Promise, click here 

The Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit organization that is working to provide programs and practices that protect children and prevent more less. This is in an effort to honor all the victims of gun violence, as the organization was founded by families affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school that took place on December 14th, 2012. The Sandy Hook Promise is above-the-politics, focusing on the “human side” of the issues by building a movement of schools, families, and community organizations.

sh5They are building a national base, organizing at a community level, developing and delivering mental health and wellness programs, and advocating for state and federal policy. Through initiatives within school districts, students can feel more included, everyone can know the warnings signs, and schools can be more safe overall. For news and information on their efforts, click here or visit their website.

I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan on having kids, but that does not mean that I cannot get involved to help stop school shootings and other events of gun violence. Sandy Hook is working to end mass shootings, and I have signed their petition and promised to share their message as well. #ProtectOurKids

sh1You can find more information on their website at SandyHookPromise.org. Here you can review their plans, know the signs, and learn how to get involved. You can also help to share their message through social media and videos, and you can also sign the petition to take action. Donations can also be made, as every little bit helps make an impact in the real world.

Thanks for reading.

Diva Rules By Michelle Visage

IMG-5726

I bought this book during Drag Con, where I actually got to meet Michelle! She even signed the book for me, which honestly made it a little more exciting to read. Diva Rules is partly about her life, but also largely a self help book for the misfits and freaks who consider themselves fabulous enough to be a diva. Definitely read this if you are ready to start feeling your oats.

IMG-6667

It’s inspiring to hear the story of a girl from New Jersey with big hair and big dreams, who actually managed to make it big. I especially enjoyed the praise through the words of RuPaul, her best Judy. I always think it’s endearing to hear someone speak fondly of someone they love and admire, and Ru clearly adores Michelle. From both of their perspectives, they had a clear connection from the moment they locked eyes, hunty. From there the chemistry just sparked, igniting a lifelong friendship and legacy. 

58956490899--805016B0-057D-4912-A15A-152F6F1810B2

One of my childhood friends was adopted, and it’s made a lasting impact on me. I have plans to get involved in either fostering or adopting in my future, and I’m also partial to those who have some experience on the subject. Michelle was adopted, as was her brother David, by two parents whom she praises immensely. She absolutely adores her parents and appreciates the life they gave her; Michelle’s only disappointment was that she was unable to inherit her mom’s big tits. 

I’m incredibly, overly jealous of the time that Michelle got to spend in New York during the up and comings of VOGUE (!!!), and the legendary children and houses featured in 03acd17c0c4d1e0ab48aaf731026608aParis Is Burning (available on Netflix). I mean, she knew Angie Extravaganza (!!!!!!!!) and was winning trophies for voguing before Madonna even know what it was. I mean, that is ICONIC. If she had written about having a kiki with Venus Extravaganza… omg, the fan girl in me might have actually gone crazy. It was during this time that Michelle got her namesake, Visage. She was entering in categories in the balls with her house, and one of the categories was “face”. Her first nickname was “Cara” – roll the “R” – the Spanish word for “face.” But when bedazzled onto her jackets and hats, people were mistaking it for the name Cara. So instead she went with the French word for “face” – visage. Bam! *Said like Alexis Mateo*

gettyimages-959033044-1565004064

Michelle is inspiring because she works hard, empowers others, believes in herself, and never gives up. She is loving, kind, full of wisdom and also not afraid to clock you for the wrong hemline. Her end goal is always to make those who shine, shine their brightest, including herself. Follow her Diva rules to do just that.

IMG-6666

I really enjoyed this book, and it’s a quick read for anyone who aspires to live up to their full diva potential (available wherever books are sold, or at her booth at DragCons). I also recommend watching Michelle as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, of course. She is also a current contestant on the British version of Dancing With The Stars (Called Strictly Come Dancing) and was on the British Celebrity Big Brother as well. You may also recognize Michelle from her many many years on the radio, or for her role in the girl groups Seduction and S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The bitch works hard, okurr!

Tens across the board! Thanks for reading.

Featured

NYC DragCon 2019

img_5763

My favorite time of year has come… DRAG CON NYC!!! I went last year with one of my best friends, Rachel, and we were eager to get back again this year. We had a blast at DragCon 2018, but now that we knew the lay of the land, we were ready to make out even better than before for 2019.

IMG-5796

Okay first, let’s talk about my wig. I wore a white one last year, that was cheap and just ordered off of Amazon. I really loved it, but it was very obvious that it was a wig. Not that I cared, it was just fun to participate. I did the same thing this year and ordered a new wig online, this time picking a lavender color with bangs. After posting a few things on my Instagram, everyone was complimenting me and asking about “my new hair.” LOL – I had to let several people know that this was a wig. I honestly did not think that it looked super realistic, but I’m still getting comments about this look a month after the fact.

IMG-5725

Anyway, like I said, Rach and I knew what we were doing this year. We got there in time to watch the queens arrivals again on the pink carpet, and then we were quick to jump in some lines. We got to IMG-5735meet SO MANY QUEENS!! It was really incredible. It started with Michelle Visage, from whom I also bought a signed autographed copy of her book, Diva Rules. Kennedy Davenport had a short line at her booth, as did Jiggly Caliente, IMG-5743so we were already making out great just within the first few hours of the day. Soju and Ariel Versace were together in a booth, so we actually got to meet both ofIMG-5771 them at the same time. My favorite queen that I met that day was Willam, who has always been one of my all-time favorites. Willam was releasing his new line of makeup called “CoverBoy”, and was sitting in a giant chair taking selfies with fans. I told her I was a ‘friend of the pod’ (Race Chaser Podcast), and we talked about the shade that she threw on her season. It was unbelievable! RuPaul was right on the main stage for a majority of the day, playing DJ and dancing along to all his favorite songs. It was honestly captivating to just watch him up there, standing less than IMG-5741100 feet from me. Later on in the day, Rachel and I were sitting against a random wall to give our feet a break while we scarfed down some hot dogs from a street vendor. Rachel was right in the middle of sentence when she saw Ru walk around the corner, and she immediately yelled out a quick, “HI RU!!” I snapped my head around just in time to see Ru wave hello directly to Rachel before going into a VIP louge. IT WAS AMAZING.

58958015649--D66376BE-9F5C-4530-AE33-92CC9C713341

To end the day, we went to a panel where Ross Mathews was reading an exclusive exert from his upcoming book, Name Drop. (His current best-selling book, Man Up, can be found anywhere fine books are sold.) I actually made sure that we were first in line, so that we could be front row. One of the staff noticed my eagerness for Ross, and actually gave us some free passes and also moved uIMG-5773s into the reserved section so that I was directly in front of Ross, completely in his eye sight! The panel was great, the exert was hilarious, and I got to talk to Ross to ask a question during the panel. He actually recognized me, and laughed about the fact that I had left him one of my famous voicemails earlier in the day. We took a picture together after the panel was over, and we are now definitely well on our way to becoming best friends. Just wait.

IMG-5831

And so concluded day one. We stayed with my friend Brian, who I’ve been close to since elementary school. He and his boyfriend live in Brooklyn, and the two of them provided us with some high quality NYC fun that night. We went to a Burning Man themed party, and were out til about 5 in the morning. I truly have no idea how I was able to be awake and functional for day two.

We got there the second day just in time to make it to Ivy Oddly’s Odd School – a panel about her fashion during her time on the show. Since she is the reigning queen currently, it was super IMG-5866cool to just be in the same room as her, listening to her iconic laugh. After that, we got right back to the booth lines. We were able to seeIMG-5890 Manila Luzon, who was always one of my favorites even before her time on All-Stars. We also got to meet the lovely Gia Gunn, who is such an influencing trans icon. There were plenty of other queens whose booths we may have been able to make it to, but some of the minimums kinda turned us off. (In order to meet a queen at her booth, you usually have to purchase something from her merchandise. Some required a minimum, so you had to buy at least $30 or so worth of stuff in order to get a picture. Personally, I don’t like the minimum purchase requirement, as it diverts some people from getting to visit some of their favorites.) The bestIMG-5854 queen of day two was the same as my favorite from last year, Ongina. I just love her so much – she’s so funny and adorable and 
super fun to just be around. I so hope to see her on an upcoming season of All-Stars or something, cause she is such a star and totally deserves more fans.

The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping within the vendors between booths and watching a totally awesome pole-dancing competition. We also had IMG-5895some fun playing around with the big photo props. There’s always iconic sayings from the show printed on huge signs with impeccable lighting. We spent so much time running around that we actually IMG-5911stayed all the way to the end of the event, where they started turning lights off and packing up to leave. We definitely got the full use of our tickets this year, between all the amazing queens we got to meet and the panels we got to attend. Not to mention, of course, all the photo opps for my Insta. The day ended with another street vendor hot dog and a long bus ride out of the city.

img_5734

DragCon is without a doubt one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and I look forward to many many more! This tradition for us will not be short lived, and I’m thinking maybe for 2020, we’ll attend Drag Con 2020 LA…?!

Thanks for reading!

The Positive Lexicography

definition-of-word-lexicography-in-dictionary-F0JMNFI remember hearing once that there was a word in another language that describes the feeling you get when you think something is so cute that you get the urge to squeeze it. There isn’t a specific word for this sensation in the English language, and this idea of “untranslatable” words has been explored by Tim Lomas, PhD. These words emphasize feelings that we may have had before, but are unable to describe through the use of the language we know. By introducing the ideas and feelings that other languages have words for, we can further the types of happiness that we are capable of understanding through diction.

From this idea, Dr. Lomas developed an index titled “The Positive Lexicography”, which contains these untranslatable words from many languages around the world that relate to happiness and well-being. Dr. Tim Lomas has also written many books, papers, and published articles on the topic, and many others have continued his studies on their own as well. The lexicography is continuously evolving, and can be found on Dr. Lomas’ website. Here are a few examples*:

“Pretoogies” – Dutch:
referring to the twinkling eyes of someone engaged in benign mischief

“Tarab” – Arabic:
a word for musically induced ecstasy

“Tabanca” – Creole:
the bittersweet feeling of being left by someone you love

“Ohanami” – Japanese:
a word for gathering with others to appreciate flowers

“Fernweh” – German:
describing a longing to travel to distant lands; a kind of homesickness for the unexplored

“Morgenfrisk” – Danish:
describing the satisfaction one gets from a good night’s sleep

“Otium” – Latin:
the joy of being in control of one’s own time

worldA social media campaign was created, called “The Happy Words Project”, which can be found on Dr. Lomas’ facebook page. People are encouraged to contribute to the campaign by adding their own suggestions through recordings and videos, which promotes happy wordshappiness and positivity through new words and ideas. You can follow @DrTimLomas on all social media platforms, participate using the hashtag #HappyWordsProject, or follow @HappyWordsProject on Instagram for illustrated words of the day.

Thanks for reading!

*The Unique Joy Of Learning New Words  
Language Article by Katy Steinmetz,
TIME Magazine, October 1, 2018.

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown

IMG-6654Being a die-hard fan of both Dancing With The Stars and Queer Eye, I was so excited to hear that Karamo Brown would be a contestant on this upcoming season. You may know him as “Crazy Karamo” from MTV’s The Real World, “culture expert” in the Fab Five of Netflix’s Queer Eye, and now Jenna Johnson’s partner on DWTS. Because I’m somebody who takes a deep dive into everything that I love, I ordered Karamo’s book, and I actually read the entire thing in one sitting. 

karamoWithin the first 10 pages, I could feel Karamo’s charisma, positivity, and enlightenment radiating through the words. The way he writes is so light and refreshing, and his life has proven to be wildly interesting. He is concise, clear, and incredibly wise and reflective. It was empowering to read such amazing things from a member of the LGBTQ community and from someone whom I value and admire so much. 

Screen-Shot-2019-04-02-at-9.47.26-AMI’m inspired by Karamo’s ability to openly admit and own up to his mistakes. I’m wildly impressed by him, and I hope to be able to work on taking accountability for my own actions as a result. Karamo admittedly has a number of things to apologize for, but he does just that with eloquence and grace. I also loved Karamo’s thoughts on the term “letting people in” rather than “coming out” in the LGBTQ+ community. His ideas were something I related to IMMENSELY and appreciated completely:IMG-6655

IMG-6656

I basically cried while reading about his relationship with his fiancé, Ian. Not just because of how adorably in love they are, but also the dynamics and interactions between him and Karamo’s sons. Karamo proposed on Ian’s birthday, just after his son’s Jason and Chris announced that their gift was that they want to call him “Pops”. Family was a clear, present, and fascinating topic for Karamo throughout the book, and Ian completed this part of him. Their relationship is truly beautiful. 

queer-eye-public-domainThere was a lot of push back at first for Karamo on Queer Eye, because he wanted to be the “culture expert” that’s really more of a life coach. The previous culture expert from the original show focused more on arts, museums, plays, etc. in terms of “culture”, but Karamo had a clear goal and intention for what he wanted this role to be. It breaks my heart to hear the negative feedback he first got, as a result of the network not being unified on the vision for his expertise on the show. As a viewer and fan of the series, I feel as though I understood Karamo from the beginning. Even in the very first episode, from which he claims his interactions were largely cut, I could see that Karamo’s impact was present and important. I see you, Karamo! Work, girl!

dwts-karamo-brownI absolutely loved Karamo’s book. It was quick, full of wisdom, and provided me with a new insight into who he is. You can binge watch Queer Eye on Netflix over and over again anytime – and I highly recommend you do so. Of course I also HIGHLY highly recommend Karamo’s book, which can be found wherever books are sold. Also – please vote for him on Dancing With The Stars this season! (Mondays at 8:00 PM on ABC.)

Thanks for reading!

March For Our Lives Peace Plan

My journey with gun reform started with the March on Washington last year, has been continued through March For Our Lives resources and other organizational support as well, and the issue continues to be a prominent problem in America.

mfol

I got a message from March For Our Lives on August 21st, announcing their “Peace Plan for a Safer America”. This plan includes a comprehensive agenda on ending the problems with gun violence in the U.S.

mfol2“Created by survivors, so you don’t have to be one.”

mfol3

When I first got the text notification about the peace plan and went to visit the site, it had crashed and went offline. Of course many news outlets had already picked up the story and information for me to immediately find, but I feel that the crash is promising and shows the high level of interest on the topic. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but most American’s actually do agree on many details of gun reform.

unnamedWaiting for policy changes is a slow moving process, and the organization is focusing on what we can do to help push the agenda to make America safer. While many policymakers are simply offering thoughts and prayers,  the Peace Plan is instead addressing the issue head on, by demanding bold C.H.A.N.G.E.:

Change the standards of gun ownership
Halve the rates of gun deaths in ten years
Accountability for the gun lobby and industry
Name a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention
Generate community-based solutions
Empower the next generation

img_5359

The Peace Plan is ambitious, forward thinking, and worth fighting for. The idea is shift power away from the NRA so that all types of gun violence can be addressed: from suicides and accidental shootings to gun violence and shootings driven by hate.

To sign the petition, donate to the cause, or learn more information, visit MarchForOurLives.com or click here for a direct link to the Peace Plan.

Thanks for reading.