FINDING YOUR VOICE: An Equality Activism Conference at Lehigh University

Lehigh University’s Rainbow Room is hosting the 3rd Annual LGBTQIA Intercollegiate Conference this Saturday, March 29th.

Come for the ever-important and revolutionary talks about marriage equality, maintaining a LGBTQIA-friendly work environment, independent publishing, writing, trans-youth workshops, and advocacy training. Stay for the opportunity to meet queers and allies from twelve  local colleges and universities, to feel empowered in your voice and art, and enjoy sessions on sex and social media. You know, a little of everything.

lehigh university rainbow room

Two weeks ago I (middle) got to meet Kim (right) and Trish (left) to chat about the conference and they let me plop down on the comfy sofas and gawk at the architecture of the buildings and offered me a celebratory flag. Such sweethearts. I am honored to have been invited to be part of this event!

lgbtqia definition

I’ll be on a panel called “Finding your Voice on Social Media”.

My co-panelist is Nick Foti, the man who created the “Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys” video on Youtube, along with a ton of other hilarious videos, and he has MILLIONS of views and followers. I am so excited to meet him (and will surely learn an awful lot).

GO HERE to read the full-line up of sessions for this conference.

This is FREE! FREE! FREE! and open to anyone/everyone. Just make sure you register so we know to expect you. You can stay all day or come and go as you please. The first session starts at 10:00am on Saturday morning, so grab coffee,  a bagel + a seat next to someone you never met (then introduce yourself). This will be fun.

Event Facebook Page | LU Rainbow Room on Twitter

 

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“Make Every American Home the Place of Plenty and Rejoicing” – Sarah Josepha Hale and Thanksgiving

This is a one-minute clip of some video I took of my hero Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in her class on holiday traditions, specifically the “eat Turkey on Thanksgiving” tradition.  She shares insight on the intent of the day, meant for gratitude and togetherness.

In this clip, she quotes Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) who wrote:

“Let us consecrate the day to benevolence of action, by sending good gifts to the poor, and doing those deeds of charity that will, for one day, make every American home the place of plenty and of rejoicing.”

There are are several more short clips from this talk, which you can find on My Youtube Channel. 

(Excuse the shaky, awkward camera, I was trying not to be obnoxious as I was right up front.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Bedroom Art for Less than $10

Remember nearly two years ago when I made this piece for our bedroom using free paint color samples? (Click here for the link to the post with step-by-step directions.)

BEFORE PHOTO: Paint sample art.

Well, that’s gone and I have a new one in it’s place, and today I’ll show you how I made it.

This was prompted by some nice new sheets and a comforter we got as a Christmas gift. While I usually love bright colors, I liked the idea of toning down the colors in the bedroom to something a little softer, cozier, more relaxing.

The new palette is: gray, white, yellow, some black. Wood grains and metal accents.

Ryan and I have been talking about making some custom built-ins around the bed, so things should be changing up eventually, but I needed some art for now, and here’s what I came up with.

Canvas before pulling all the paint samples off.

Step 1: Get a blank canvas. In this case, I just removed all the paint samples from the old canvas. This meant there were bits of glue and paper stuck all over it, but I actually liked that in the end because it lent layers and texture to what would otherwise be pretty flat. In fact, if you have a new canvas, try sticking some papers or things on it.  To seal (there was still some sticky glue on the canvas), I gave it one good coat of mod podge to lock everything in. Let it dry (may be overnight).

Seal all the little textured bits on the canvas with a good coat of mod podge.

Step 2. Get your paint and a business card/postcard to “paint” with. This is similar to silkscreening. On one side of the canvas, squirt a line of paint. Using a business card or a postcard, drag the paint across in a thin layer. You can go back over it multiple times, pulling the paint across.

Put a line of paint on the canvas, and use a business card or thin cardboard to drag the paint across.

It will look like this!

Step 3: Let one color dry, then do the same thing with a second color. I put my line of yellow paint where the gray paint ended (instead of on the opposite end of the canvas), and pulled it across in the same direction, so the left side of the canvas would have streaking with white canvas showing through. But do it however you want! Allow to dry.

Step 4: “Stain” the canvas in some areas (no photo).  On a paper plate, mix a small amount of dark color paint, I used black, with some mod podge. You are going to make a “stain”. Use at least 4 x’s as much mod podge as dark paint. Using a brush or foam brush, plop some of the “stain” on the canvas and then IMMEDIATELY wipe off/spread off with a paper. You should be smearing it and be able to see through the stain, this is just giving is some added texture, “aging” the look of the piece. Do this anywhere you need some texture. I focused on the edges and the corners. If it dried too fast and isn’t transparent enough, wet the paper towel and try wiping it off – this will take more of the color off but leave just enough.

Step 5: Paint words or images on the canvas (no photo). 

Since this was going in our bedroom, and my favorite thing on the entire earth is curling up in bed on Sunday Morning with a book, coffee, a cat and a boyfriend, it was clear I could only write one thing,

“Meet me here on Sunday morning”

I added the rain cloud after seeing very cute cloud-shaped pillows online and since it has been raining every day for a week, it felt right. Not to mention, Sunday mornings are all the better when it’s raining. I’m excited just thinking about it!

AFTER PHOTO/FINISHED PRODUCT:

Sunday morning bedroom art.

All together now…

Perfect for naps, smoochin’ and reading.

SUPPLIES:

  • one canvas – already owned
  • mod podge – $6
  • paint colors/3 – .59 cents each (!)
  • postcard or business card – free from recycling pile
  • foam brush – .89 cents
  • thin paint brush – 5 for $4.99

… as you can see, if I only bought one small paintbrush, this whole thing would have cost under $10.00!

I’ve always envied fine visual artists, and I’m not claiming to consider myself a painter, but I love that I made this by myself, and when Ryan saw it he said, “It’s so perfect for US.” Best compliment.

Go make something!

Why Are Twinkies Cheaper than Carrots?

I came across this video online yesterday. It simply addresses the reasons (unreasonable as they may be)  that “health food is expensive” while cheap, processed garbage food is more affordable (… at the time).

1) I do not think whole foods are expensive*, or that eating healthy has to be. One of the missions of STK! is to show people how to use ingredients most people are familiar with or can find easily and affordable to make meals, when they may otherwise think of vegetables as a side dish only.

*Whole plant foods can be incredibly affordable especially if bought in season and/or from a local market.

 

2) I would never be so presumptuous to make a statement like “People should spend money on better food and less on XYZ”. I may believe that, but I also know that I have a different lifestyle from a single mom working three low-wage jobs; a wealthy businessman who can go to Whole Foods for all organic food; a teenager living and thus eating according to the rules of her parents. We are all at different places in our lives financially: I aim to put forth meals that can be made, and/or adapted, to fit most budgets.

BECAUSE…

3) A perceived “problem” with whole foods is that people don’t know what to do with them. So we can encourage someone to spend what money they have on greens, grains, dried beans, etc… but then they actually have to eat them or the money and nutrition is wasted.  Cooking education must go hand-in-hand when buying better food is the mission.

What we think of as "cheap food" can still cost a lot of money.

Cooking from whole foods can be MUCH more affordable, as long as one knows HOW to cook with them. (*STK doesn't advocate consumption of dairy or meat as shown in this photo)

But all that said, it’s still truth that we live in a world of 99cent “Value” menus that provide a lot of calories for a little money.

If you’ve ever seen Food Inc., you may recall a scene in which a low income family travels to the grocery store with a limited budget. They pick up a bag of apples, then agree they can buy one whole meal from a fast food chain for the same amount of money as the apples. They put the apples down. In the next scene they are eating their fast food meals in the car on the drive home.

And that scene illustrated an unfortunate truth: sometimes the worst food is much cheaper than the most basic foods.

It doesn’t make any sense.

It’s enraging, horrible, disgusting. It’s completely backwards.

In less than four minutes, this video explains why it happens:

“How is it that something with 39 different ingredients can be cheaper than something you just pull out of the ground?”

You can visit Calpirg.org or CLICK HERE to send an electronic message to the Senator to stop junk food subsidies.

Day of Reflection on the Little ‘Fest That Could

 The past 48 hours have been a time of seeking out folks for feedback, constructive criticism, and overall impressions of Bethlehem Vegfest. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive, though I’m excited to continue to improve more aspects next year.

I am working on a post about my overall reaction to the ‘Fest. It’s long, it’s wordy, it’s emotional and it will  likely take me another day or two.

Until then, here’s two more blog posts to keep you satisfied:

Bethlehem Vegfest was featured on Our Hen House today – something really incredible because their work reaches a large audience, and I love that Bethlehem is continually showing up as a vegan presence to people in other areas. Jasmin and Mariann are activists that work endlessly on giving the people tools they need to empower themselves to spread the message of veganism and animal rights. (I was particularly interested in their thoughts on our Vegfest, as they have been to so many others across the country, and am excited to share some of our discussion with you in an upcoming post.)

Not only that, but their podcasts – which are FREE to download and a joy to listen to – will have a special Bethlehem Vegfest segment next week, including none other than superwoman Danielle Konya of Vegan Treats. I cannot wait to hear this episode.  Go check out their work, download a billion podcasts, and then take action.

(*** Also check out a segment of their website/work that ties in Gay and Queer activism, called The Gay Animal. These ladies don’t stop, and we are better off for it!)

From Here Now lehigh valley blog

A local lady new to the blogging scene (and a dear friend, at that) is Colleen Marsh with here blog From Here Now. Colleen writes a positive, inviting blog about all the little treasures found in the Lehigh Valley, places to go, businesses she supports, recipes she makes her own kitchen.

Colleen went to Vegfest and wrote a great blog about her impressions of it (positive!), followed by a billion recipes for everything she made for a vegan dinner that night.

–    –    –    –    –    –    –

I am very happy to say that I just had a meeting this morning with some folks about a project that will be an all-vegan project, something the other folks involved had thought about for a while, but seeing the incredible attendance of the fest made them realized that now is the time to act! It’s still top secret, but once it gets rolling we will want all of your support to spread the word.

My heart feels all big and fuzzy. Thank you for being a part of something that quite literally has the power to change our community for the better.

VEGAN MACHINE Blog Saves the Kal… I mean, DAY!

Back when I very first mentioned the rumblings of Bethlehem Vegfest on facebook, the amazing Kaycee Bassett of the blog Vegan Machine wrote to me to offer something so generous – could she make and donate some pocket guides so we may hand them out at the fest?

Could she? COULD SHE!?

A huge and resounding HECK YES. And so she did. Kaycee made up these guides of animal ingredients – things commonly found in food and other products that are animal derived that have crazy names and you may not know it just by reading the packaging.

Vegan Machine

She sent  literally hundreds, all of them hand-bound and made with love shooting out of that big heart of hers.

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Cutie pie Kaycee Bassett of Vegan Machine

Please show Kaycee some love and support – you can help spread the word about what she does by liking her FACEBOOK PAGE, and checking out her blog full of drool-inducing recipes and lots, lots more.

She also organizes a Vegan Pen Pal match-up service. If you are interested in having a vegan pen-pal from a far off land, contact her and she will set it up. Who wouldn’t want some authentic Polish recipes or German vegan chocolates, not to mention a bond formed with someone new? GO HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Kaycee is one of those people that embodies a lifestyle based on compassion, and lives that every day in her actions and education. I am grateful to have her support!

Go visit Vegan Machine to keep up with this wonder woman!

SEE FORKS OVER KNIVES DOCUMENTARY THIS SATURDAY AT STEELSTACKS!

The cooking demo was fun! Thanks so much to everyone who came out, introduced themselves, gobbled up food samples, or had a chat about Vita-Mixes or organic limes or any of the other lovely things I got to talk to you about.

I realized that I would have loved to have talked talked talked, so you have inspired me to look into finding youth groups or high school/college environmental clubs or animal rights groups to do talks and discussions! If anyone has insight on this, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks so much to my longtime friend Alex for getting some photos:

What’s in store next? Don’t forget THIS SATURDAY NIGHT you can come and join interested and like-minded people at SteelStacks’ cinema for a screening of Forks Over Knives.

What Food, Inc. did for food politics, Forks Over Knives does for nutrition and health. Need more convicing? Here ya go:

There is so much to be said on this topic, but I urge you to see the film – available on DVD, on Netflix, or at SteelStacks this weekend with a discussion to follow (you’re going to want to talk about it!), or pick up the book The China Study or the Forks Over Knives tie-in book.

*Especially of interest for anyone looking to prevent or manage cancer, or anyone who supports finding a cancer cure. Get out your “Save the Ta-Ta’s” or “I feel my Boobs” t-shirts and learn about something that may be, and for some has proven to be, a way to prevent this awful disease.

So hopefully I’ll see you at SteelStacks in Bethlehem this Saturday, Sept.  3rd at 7:30pm  for the screening and then discussion of Forks Over Knives!