5 Reasons Why I LOVE Tucson, AZ

It’s happening!! Very very soon, I’ll be moving to Tucson, Arizona! (More on that later..) Why? Well, here’s some reasons why Tucson is freaking awesome.

driving1. Arizona has NO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! The entire state of Arizona said NOPE and decided to stop moving their clocks forward and backwards each year. Never have to worry about gaining or losing an hour, and it probably regulates the amount of sunlight in the winter a little better.

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2. The food is seriously KILLER. You get the southwest vibes, the Mexican authenticity, and some amazing seafood. And hellooo: IN-N-OUT!!! But the best thing I’ve eaten there so far was a chile relleno burrito… YUM.

bisexual3. Arizona is the state with the first OPENLY BISEXUAL member of the U.S. Senate! Kyrsten Sinema served as a district representative for 6 years before getting elected this year into her current position. She is not only making a milestone for the gay community, but she also is Arizona’s first-ever female senator and its first Democratic senator since 1995.* GIRL YOU BETTA WERK.

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4. There are so many wonderful ROAD TRIP destinations in range! Tucson is only roughly a 6 hour drive to Las Vegas, a 1 hour drive to Mexico, a 7 hour drive to Los Angeles, 7 hours to Santa Fe, 6 hour drive to San Diego, etc. etc. etc. So for someone who loves to travel and is always down for a road trip, this is a dream!

5. And now, the real reason… two words: GIANT. CACTUS. 

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More on the big move later. Thanks for reading!

*Kyrsten Sinema makes history as the first bisexual
member of the U.S. Senate, Arizona's first-ever female
senator, and is first Democratic senator since 1995,
according to NBC News.

Out & About (Feb 2019)

adp pride 3I am lucky and fortunate enough to work for a company that is very socially conscious and progressive in various areas. My company does a lot of charity work, including giving each employee 8 volunteer hours of PTO to use each year. They give parental leave to anyone who is becoming a parent – which includes fathers, adoption, LGBTQ couples, and more. They also have internal organizations to join to help you feel a sense of community, which includes a Pride organization that publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, titled “Out & About.”*

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There were three key pieces of news and information that was shared in the February 2019 issue of “Out & About” that I wanted to highlight, as they are extremely important milestones in LGBTQ history:

1. LGBTQ Representation in Record Numbers
This was something that I highlighted in my post-election post that celebrated the diversity we had just elected into office, and was also highlighted in the magazine as well. Representation in our government now includes record high numbers of open LGBTQ community members. This year, we swore into office our first openly bisexual Senate member and the first lesbian parent in Congress (making 10 total LGBTQ members overall). Having these perspectives in office can greatly help to provide a more well-rounded basis of legislation, and can better represent the people in which they are governing.

2. Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
The Governor of New York signed this act on January 25th, which adds gender identity and gender expression to their list of protected classes. This ensures that Transgender and Non-Binary individuals are protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and bathroom access (many other states have already put this in place). New York also passed a law that bans conversion therapy, along with 14 other states who have banned the outdated practice as well. Conversation therapy has never shown evidence of affecting a persons sexual preference, but instead has only proved to have intense damages as a result. As a result of these two changes, New York has made great strides in supporting the LGBTQ community.

3. LGBTQ Inclusivity in School
New Jersey has passed a law that will recognize LGBTQ members of history in middle school and high school curricula. This will show the leaders and contributors of history as well as LGBTQ milestones and perspectives. Having this requirement in classrooms can greatly normalize the community during important and formative years. The law also requires that there is more inclusion for individuals with disabilities. This inclusion to the education in NJ should better represent the world overall and should help celebrate all world perspectives.

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I feel very grateful that my workplace is recognizing some of the same values that are important to me, and celebrating milestones alongside the LGBTQ community. And I hope that more history continues to be made.

Thanks for reading.

*Out & About is an ADP resource intended for internal use only.

Universal Background Checks Bill

tomns.JPGRemember TOMS®? The super cute slip on shoes that would donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair of shoes that you purchase? As if this company wasn’t socially conscious enough, TOMS® is now doing even more.

I’m a big advocate for a reform on gun control, hoping that we can live in a world where gun safety is regulated the way automobile safety is. I believe in universal background checks, routine safety regulations, and appropriate training for all guns that are issued. I myself do not want to ever own a gun, as that would make me wildly uncomfortable, but I understand that others may feel differently. On a PERSONAL level, I hate guns. On a REALISTIC level, I just want the proper protocols to be in place.

After all, over 90% of Americans agree on universal background checks.*

Think about all the steps it takes to own a car. You have to study to pass a written test to get your license. Then, after practicing with a licensed adult, you earn your hours and take your driver’s test to get your real license. Then, you update that routinely. You also obtain a vehicle, which is also checked routinely to ensure the safety of you and those around you. While on the road, you obey the laws of the road, and you don’t let others drive your car who aren’t legally allowed to do so. If you break the law and get caught, you’ll get fines and penalties against your license, and could even have it taken away if you do not follow legislation. Now, nothing will ever prevent accidents from happening, but think about how much more chaos there would be if we didn’t have these rules and regulations for automobiles in place. Why do we not have the same routines for gun control? Both are man-made objects that accidentally take the lives of innocent people every single day. Why are they not treated the same?

UBGC 4On January 8th, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require universal background checks for all gun sales.* The bill is knows as H.R.8, and is a gigantic step for the gun reform movement. This proves that even in such divided times, we still have the ability to agree on basic human issues, and we can affect change.

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In an effort to help push this action, TOMS® has launched a postcard campaign to streamline a way to contact the representatives. By just providing your information via the TOMS® website, you could help take action on this very important issue. Over 720,000 postcards were hand-delivered to Congress as a result of the TOMS® Brand’s effort to make a difference. One of them, of course, was mine!

And now, we can proudly say that the universal background checks bill has been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives!

UBGC 6I hope that this is a historical first step into ending gun violence in the United States. Next stop: THE SENATE! We still have a long way to go, so please remember to vote this November for the representatives that are helping to make the world a better place.

Thanks for reading!

*All information found on the TOMS® website.
Visit https://www.toms.com/ for more information on how TOMS®
is getting involved, how you can help, or to go shoe shopping.

New Tattoos

I’m a big fan of tattoos and already have several small ones, and now I have added tattoos #8 and #9.

These were both tattoos that I had been thinking about for a very long time. The first one, actually, I almost got done in college and didn’t because of last minute plans that got changed. Now almost 6 years later, I finally got it done.

gravityThere are two songs titled “Gravity” that hold a lot of weight to me for different reasons. One is by John Mayer, and the other by Sara Bareilles. The idea of “gravity” allows you to be pulled towards different directions, and can have forces working against you. You may feel a magnetic connection to something and can easily be swayed as a result of it’s pull. We can allow ourselves to be influenced, or we can stop it from keeping us down. Gravity is also what can keep us grounded, and keep our heads out of the clouds. I got the word “gravity” tattooed behind by left ear, as a reminder to be in control of my life and to keep myself grounded. (This was also written in my mom’s handwriting.)

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My other tattoo is on my upper/inner right forearm. This tattoo is of the Libra constellation, depicted by flowers. I always resonated with being a Libra, but the idea of “balance” is something I can’t always connect with. Balance is something I strive for, but rarely achieve, so I didn’t want to get the Libra scale as my tattoo. Instead, there are two flowers, whose blossoms represent the stars in the constellation. This shows that despite expectations, we will bloom where we are planted, but we will grow how we want to.

I’m super super super happy with all of my tattoos and look forward for more to come!

Thanks for reading.

It Takes Balls by Josh Wolf

josh wolf 1You may recognize comedian Josh Wolf from his thirteen years of stand-up, his tours with Larry the Cable Guy and Chelsea Handler, and his TV appearances on My Name Is Earl  and Raising Hope. I discovered Josh through Ross Mathews – they both worked on Chelsea Lately and continued their chemistry on their radio show, He Said, He Said with Josh and Ross. I am now a huge fan of his, an avid listener of his podcasts, and a follower of his comedy. From my first experience with Josh, I found him absolutely hilarious and down josh wolf 2to earth. He certainly knows how to take a joke super far and make you shake your head in disgust, but he also definitely isn’t offensive. He’s a stand up guy, a solid ally, and a great comedian. Josh is from Boston, and often does shows at the Laugh Factory when he is in town. I was able to go to his show last October, where I even got to meet him afterwards and take some pictures. He does an awesome live set, so if you ever get the chance to see him don’t miss out on the fun.

jw 1It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad is Josh Wolf’s collection of his own experiences and funny stories. He finds himself, as he is breaking into his comedy career, with 3 kids and questionable help. They made it work, of course, but not without some tales to tell along the way. Josh is hilarious, and I could hear his voice as he recounted the memories. Part of his comedy comes from the fact that he’s just flat out honest, and is able to admit things that other people might be ashamed of. For example, using his kids to get dates, and going so far as to have them call him “uncle”. I was highly amused.

Part of the reason that I like Josh not just as a comedian, but also just as a human, is because I think he’s a really amazing parent. I totally respect his parenting style; he is realistic, yet encouraging and also extremely proud of his kids. This definitely comes through in his book, as he tells stories of coaching his son’s little league team and connecting with his daughter over her first kiss. He may have been unprepared, but it seems like he made out pretty good overall.

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The best part of the book was the stories about taking his buddies to Las Vegas. It starts out with antics to even get the guys on the plane, including involving one of their wives to help out. Cut to everyone taking too much advantage of their solo hotel rooms instead of hitting a night out on the town – which didn’t sit well with Josh of course. He makes up for lost time though, instigating bets and dares and getting the gang into some hilarious trouble. That’s probably the best part about Josh – he’s the kind of person that goes looking for trouble, finds it, and jumps head first into it.

josh wolf

I highly recommend It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf, as well as the rest of his content and comedy. You can follow Josh Wolf on social media at @joshwolfcomedy (his Insta stories of “parenting tips” are hilarious) or visit his website comedianjoshwolf.com for more information and show dates (and a link to his YouTube channel, which includes bits from his standup). You can listen to his podcast Fairly Normal wherever you listen to podcasts, which includes audio of his Facebook TV show Controlled Chaos (which you can also, obviously, watch on Facebook TV). You can also listen to his podcast with Freddie Prinze Jr, called The Prinze and The Wolf or you can go back and binge his old radio show with Ross Mathews, Josh and Ross.

Thanks for reading!

Podcast Favorites #5

podcast  Okay – here is yet ANOTHER round of my favorite podcast suggestions! (#1, #2, #3, & #4)

NEW LISTENS:

this day in history

This Day In History – Brought to you by How Stuff Works and Stuff You Missed In History Class, this podcast explores an important event that happened on this day in history. Every day, you can find out a significant event that happened years ago. From the Lindbergh kidnapping, to an epic Beatles rooftop concert, to the day Pluto was discovered, and so many events in between. It’s a quick 5 to 10 minute podcast that comes out each morning, and its a cute way to start the day by looking back one day at a time.

ellen on the go

Ellen On The Go – I used to absolutely love watching Ellen when I was in high school and could make it home in time, but I haven’t been able to routinely catch the show pretty much since then. Now, I can keep up with all the laughs through the podcast Ellen On The Go, which is hosted by five of her creative writers and directors, who give their colorful commentary on the segments. I’m glad I didn’t have to miss the hilarity of Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard yelling at each other over Cheetos, or when Portia surprised Ellen with her birthday present. I wish there was a way to conveniently watch the show each day, (let’s get on that, Hulu) but until then, the podcast really helps me get my fix of Ellen.

experts

armchair expert

Armchair Expert – Speaking of Dax Shepard – Alright, I finally did it. I caved and started listening to Dax Shepard’s podcast and honestly, I am not sorry that I did! I’m now a huuuuge fan of both Dax and also Monica Padman! Monica does a “fact check” at the end of each episode, which is often my favorite part just because I think Monica is great. Dax interviews a celebrity each week, where he dives in deep to cover lots of stories about life and the industry. Of course his wife Kristen Bell makes appearances on the show, along with other co-stars and famous friends. I think Dax is a really awesome human and I think very highly of him as a person. Aside from Armchair Expert, Dax also has another podcast, Expert on Experts, where he goes deep with professionals in their area of expertise to decide if they are truly, indeed, experts afterall.

what the tuckWhat the Tuck? – The ONLY RuPaul’s Drag Race recap podcast. That’s it, there’s only this one. No others. If you think there are you’re wrong, and you can’t prove it. I live for Drag Race and so do the hosts of this podcast, who are ever-revolving, but Nicole Byers is the reason that I originally tuned in. I find her hilarious and love her opinions on the queens. The only other recap podcast I listen to for Drag Race is Alaska and Willam’s show, but I do really appreciate the opinions and perspectives here as well. Even though Nicole is not there every week, and the other hosts seem to come and go as well, I still would recommend.

can we kick itCan We Kick It? – This podcast debuts Cjay as the host, who you may know if you are a listener of Straight Talk with Ross. Cjay teams up with the lovely Miss Paress as his co-host, whose voice is one of the most soothing things I have ever heard. They cover pop culture stories, relevant topics in black culture, and bring to light topics that should be talked about. I also get a lot of great music suggestions from the pair as well, as they regularly recommend popular artists and new talent to watch. The podcast is new, so it’s easy to catch up and be along for the ride, because I’m sure that there’s a lot more to come here.

As always, there’s room for more suggestions in my podcast life! Comment or send me your favorite podcasts to try!

Thanks for reading.

Grown-ish S2E5

grownish3If you are not watching the show Grown-ish, start now! Actually, start with Black-ish for some context, then quickly binge your way through Grown-ish afterwards. Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, was created by Kenya Barris and airs on ABC. It’s about a black father who is creating a sense of ethnic identify for his children who are sometimes receptive and other times create their own way of navigation. The show is superbly relevant and covers topical issues in a really incredible way. Grown-ish, starring Yara Shahidi, is the extremely relatable spin-off show, in which we follow the oldest daughter, Zoey, through her college endeavors. The show is a very accurate depiction of some of the issues with college, including experimenting with substances, sexuality, and career goals.

Season 2, Episode 5 of Grown-ish is called “Girls Like You”, and aired on 1/22/19. The episode focuses on Zoey’s friend Nomi, who is a bisexual female coming into her own. I relate to Nomi’s cgrownish2haracter, played by Emily Arlook, not just because she is bisexual, but also because she is a free spirit and is totally imperfect. I also really appreciate the way that the show has depicted her character as truly bisexual, showing her with a variety of people. It’s been really empowering for me to see her with a male interest in one episode, (where they actually explore the unfair stereotypes associated with male bisexuality) and also explore relationships with women later in the season. She’s not seen as “experimenting” or “going through a phase” – *INSERT MY GIANT EYE ROLL HERE* – she’s literally just living. And I’m here for it.

The episode starts out by going through annoying (yet hilarious) roommate habits, including using the bathroom while others are present or passive aggressive Venmo requests. Then we go through something most college roommates experience – hook ups. Except, Nomi’s roommates think that she is having too many, and they are concerned about the way in which she is seducing these women.

Please let me just say – this episode was amazing to watch. I simultaneously wanted to be Nomi but also wanted to go home and spend the night with her. Of course, there was a EMILY ARLOOKlot that was exaggerated here as a result of the “player” attitude that the show has given her and the idea that everyone experiments in college. But it also highlighted some really important ideas, stereotypes, and conversations. One of Nomi’s friends gives her a hard time because the way Nomi is acting by hooking up with lots of girls without meaning reminds her friend of typical “dude” behavior. She can relate to the girls on the other end of the hook ups, and as a result, feels some type of way about it.

Zoey follows Nomi out to a bar and sees her interacting with a female interest, and realizes Nomi’s super power. Nomi is able to be charismatic in a way that’s relatable but also attractive, which is totally different than flirting with a guy. In the episode, Nomi is using this idea to seduce straight women into their first lesbian experience, knowing that she isn’t going to call in the morning. Zoey helps her realize that part of the reason that Nomi might be acting this way is because she’s comfortable keeping women at a distance, since she has yet to come out to her very conservative family.

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THEN. ENTER SHANE. OH MY GOD. (If you see the picture to the right and you still don’t know what I’m talking about – please hand me your gay card, go binge The L Word on Netflix, and you can have it back when you understand why I am freaking out.) Except, she’s not Shane. She’s Professor Hewson, here to teach Nomi all about being gay!!! HAPPY DAY!!!! (I’m sorry, I’ll calm down – this whole thing just made me so incredibly happy.)

I’d like to just quickly debunk an important myth here – not all straight girls experiment in college. Or in life. If you try to hit on a straight girl, most of the time it’s not going to go your way. Trust me; I’ve been there.  I’m not telling you that it’s impossible, and I’m not telling you not to make an attempt. But I am telling you not to go in with the expectations of Nomi’s results.

grownish1That being said, I absolutely loved this episode and this show overall. I hope that they can use Nomi’s character to explore what it’s like to come out as a bisexual. I’m hoping that they continue to show Nomi’s progression and experiences as she navigates her way. Also, I certainly hope that Professor Hewson is not going anywhere anytime soon!

“Watch out world, I’m grown now.”

Thanks for reading.