Wednesday, March 31, 2021

How Weather Affects Insect Problems

If you’re observant, you will most probably have noticed that insects are affected by the weather. Or they perform better in some weather better than others. Just like humans, the activities of insects also change with the weather. The activities of insects—including their growth, development, reproduction, distribution, and population—are faster in hotter conditions. This is because they are cold-blooded creatures. 

In non-favorable or freezing conditions, like winter, most insects will hibernate or burrow into the ground until the conditions are right for them to re-emerge. Other times, they will migrate or spend the winter periods hiding in your home—a warm and cozier environment. Nevertheless, the last thing you want is to allow insects to make your home their home. This can be prevented easily by contacting your local pest control company or by reading this article further.

In this article, you’ll learn how different weather conditions, mostly temperature, and moisture, affect insect issues in your home. 

Rainy Weather

Water is an essential commodity for insects to survive. It is also a great catalyst for pests to reproduce very quickly. Therefore, during spring (March–May) and summer (June – August) where we have more rain, you need to watch out for insects. More rains mean you’ll likely see or have more insects around. Having more pests around also means they’ll likely need to find more food. Which might lead to more pests trying to invade your home and privacy. You should nevertheless be cautious and ready to deal with an influx of pests in this weather.

Dry weather

As earlier mentioned, water is necessary for the survival of insects. So, a long duration of dry weather can also mean more ants entering your home because they need water. As much as insects need water to survive, they also need food. However, the impacts of dry weather tend to affect their food supply. Therefore, as they are searching for water, they are also searching for food. And the best place to get this essential commodity is inside your home. Although you might not see insects around during dry weather unlike wet weather, you might find them coming into your home in search of food. When they find easy access to the food supply, they might build nests closer to your home. You may click here if you also want to get rid of them fast.

What you should do to prevent them 

You should make sure your home is kept clean always. Keep your food in airtight containers and make sure your home is free of crumbs. You should also make sure your drainages are in good condition, with no water leakage, or standing water especially during winter (or dry weather).

Never take your chances with those creeping insects. Irrespective of the climatic changes or weather conditions, they will effectively treat your basements, garages, crawl spaces, and trash areas to discourage insect breeding and eliminate possible infestations. They will also spray your doors, windows, and inspect your house exterior for bees, termites, spiders, wasp nets, etc. to mention but a few.

This article was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

How to Process Heartbreak

Written for the Life According to Steph audience by Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

On average most adults experience full heartbreak around one or two times in their lives. It can be excruciating and very difficult to deal with. It can be challenging to navigate and can have a very serious effect on both your physical and mental health. From anxiety to guilt, the after effects of heartbreak can feel endless and painful. However common rejection is, it does not make it easy to deal with. However, there are several steps you can take when navigating this process. 

Ask for help

Heartbreak can be very emotionally fraught and time-consuming. It can take up a lot of your mental and physical energy. In essence, heartbreak is grief, loss, and rejection, which in combination can feel very isolating. It is, therefore, important to remember to ask for help when you need it because tackling these emotions alone can feel unbearable. 

There is an abundance of people willing to help you with your healing journey. From psychotherapists to EFT practitioners, there is a multitude of ways to help deal with trauma and loss. Lisa C. McJunkin specializes in therapy and holistic coaching to help individuals heal past traumas. Asking for help from a trained professional can be very beneficial when dealing with the consuming emotions and trauma of heartbreak. 

Move Your Body
A common symptom of heartbreak is anxiety, which can often be caused by suppressing bigger emotions such as anger or sadness. It is important to shift anxiety to access the underlying emotions. If these are left undealt with, they can have bigger consequences in the long run and you may find yourself dealing with trauma for much longer than you would like to. 

One way to shift feelings of anxiety is to use your body. Shift the physical manifestations that grief has on your body. There are many ways to do this, for example, crying is cathartic and releasing. Do not hold the tears back, if you feel them let them out. Furthermore, moving your body can release pent-up emotion and shock from the trauma of heartbreak. Start slowly with some gentle stretching and work up to the more physical movement, such as dancing or running. Let your body help you grieve and provide the pain an exit route through movement and release. 

Take Your Time

There is no straight line out of heartbreak and no one way you should do things. You may find people around you telling you that you should be doing this or you should be over it by now. This journey is individual and each person deals with loss in their way. Resist the pressure from external forces that tell you how and why you should be grieving. Remember to do what feels right by you—that is most important. It takes time and perseverance, you will find that some days are much easier to cope with than others. Do not feel disheartened by setbacks. At the end of the day, you are doing right by yourself and your body, so take your time.

Monday, March 29, 2021

How to Boost Your Self Confidence

Written for the Life According to Steph audience by Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

The way you feel about yourself can significantly affect how you live day-to-day, as well as how you react with friends, family members and professionals in the workplace. The more confidence you have, the more you are able to enjoy life to the full and not live in fear about whether others are judging you. Fear of judgement can have a dramatic impact on both your personal and professional life and may even hold you back from seeking opportunities. In this guide, we are going to look at just some of the ways you can improve your self-confidence in order to live a more well-rounded life.

Have a boudoir photoshoot

If you are constantly worried about your appearance, one way to overcome your anxieties would be to book a boudoir photo shoot. Taking this step is a major confidence-boosting decision that can prove just how stunning you are. A professional boudoir photographer will listen to you and allow you to choose the most comfortable poses and outfits you are happy with, to make you feel great. What is more, this activity will also allow you to experience a long-lasting effect on your confidence, as you can look back at the photos when you are having a down day – see yourself looking amazing and feel empowered again. 

Stop comparing yourself to others

It is easy to compare yourself to others – especially if you spend a large amount of time scrolling through social media. Comparisons are never healthy, as they can lead to feelings of jealousy and low mood. Notice when you start comparing yourself – whether it be in regard to affluence, possessions, looks or achievements and recognise your own attributes. Count your blessings and reach out to positive people in your circle, rather than negative ‘draining’ people who cause you to feel more miserable.

Recognize that the world is not focused on you 

If you feel an element of pressure to look or perform a certain way, remember that the world is not focused on you. You are one of billions of people on this earth, so there is no need to strive for perfectionism. Keeping this in mind should lessen any anxiety about what you are not doing right and instead allow you to focus on what you are accomplishing. People are far too preoccupied with their own lives to worry about every move you make, so concentrate on trying to please yourself rather than others.

Groom yourself

While it may seem a routine approach, simply having a shower and spraying your favorite perfume can work wonders for your self-confidence – and there is scientific evidence behind the matter. A study showed that 90% of individuals who wore perfume or aftershave felt more confident in themselves.

Dressing nicely can also have the same effect. If you work from home regularly, dressing in hoodies and sweatpants may be the more comfortable option but will not make you feel confident in your appearance. Dressing in your usual presentable office attire should allow you to feel much more self-assured and even boost productivity.

TWTW - last one in March

Friday I was up, showered, had the best friend dogs walked and fed, and was sitting at my computer working by 7 with the goal of being done by 3. It was so warm at lunch I could have cried with happiness. but windy AF so not a beach walking day. The dogs closed their eyes immediately which is a sign. I was still happy to open the windows and finish my workday on the porch, transitioning right into reading. I threw together dinner of chicken breasts in the air fryer/steamed red potatoes/steamed cauliflower (that's MFD's plate I put aside for  him, my food would not be touching like that), and MFD and the old dogs arrived around 8. 

Saturday Up by 7 despite praying for a sleep in. The dogs all got nails clipped and ears cleaned so there was howling, biting, scratching, misdirected rage, and general assholery. I got rid of some stuff via Buy Nothing pickups, went to the hardware store, sanded and spray painted the stools and bench, had a family beach sit, hoagies from Sack o’Subs for lunch (never again, unacceptable roll), then I went off in search of two replacement porch chairs. I got stuff at HomeGoods but it took three more stores until I found chairs. When I got home we ordered dinner from Luigi’s for pickup, I grabbed a few groceries before getting that, and left a fucking grocery bag at the store which I only realized after coming home so I had to go back and get it. We lounged and started watching Ginny & Georgia. 

Sunday I painted my nails in an Eastery fashion, showered, packed up, and was on the road by 10:30 with all four dogs, stopping to get gas (they pump your gas for you in NJ, you are not allowed to pump your own - I do not drive alone with a mask on lol) and driving through horrible downpours. In Philly I did five loads of laundry, got a bunch of shit out to the curb for trash day including two tables from the back yard that were broken from Tornadogate 2020 yet were still out there, got four boxes/bags of donations together, ran to the grocery store for sweet potatoes which of course they were out of (but had steamable in a bag, which I hate due to the extra plastic, but this is where we are), made dinner, and fell out on the couch. MFD was at the shore doing more of the small bathroom wall tiles and got home just as dinner was done. 

It felt good to get stuff done this weekend at both houses, which is not the usual. 

I'm sad to see birthday month go, as always, but looking forward to warmer weather and being outside more and being vaccinated and seeing my fucking friends. I'll still celebrate next week with family over Easter weekend too. 

How was yours?

Friday, March 26, 2021

I'm over it

The five day work week

Wearing any sort of jacket, sock, or boot

Waiting on doors to be installed

Vaccine deferment virtue signaling - we know, we are operating in a system that is not working for everyone. In the meantime, when you are eligible, get the vaccine. Don't worry about anyone else or how or when they got it or if you in your non-expert wisdom think they deserved to. Do you know how ableist it is to think you only know about someone's health issue if you can see it? Aside from the fact that what might qualify people as higher risk, whether you agree with it or not, was figured out by people who know more than you about this. Other people's health particulars are not your business - they are not required to tell you why they qualify for the shot and you are absolutely not entitled to ask, especially publicly on social media. Have people lost their damn minds? Doing your part to maintain public health *is* your business. We are in a race against variants. Let's go. Related to this...

Vaccine passers - I, too, believe in vitamins, avoid antibiotics when possible, don't trust the government 100%, and love crystals. None of those things are keeping me from getting a case of Covid that would hospitalize or kill me and none of them are protecting the people around me from the same. A vaccine will. Black people come from a place of medical experimentation - Henrietta Lacks and Tuskegee and so much more - which is why groups like The Black Doctors Covid-19 Consortium is working hard in their community to get people the vaccine who have a real reason to distrust. White people, just stop. If Covid manifested to impact our physical appearance like smallpox, there would not be one peep about getting it or knowing better than science how to get on top of a public health issue and worldwide pandemic. Stop. Especially those of you with the smallpox scar on your arms. You know why we don't have to worry about smallpox anymore? There was no internet where people could share insane conspiracy theories and act like they were wellness gurus who knew more than scientists and people care more about appearance than health. 

Women's clothes without pockets

Thoughts and prayers for victims of gun violence instead of action and true systems breaking change

Getting zits. I'm 44. Leave me alone. 

Choosing what's for dinner

Asian hate

People who agree to take things in internet Buy Nothing groups not showing up and actually taking them once they've been put out for pickup

Republican state legislators voting to suppress voting rights of others

Getting less flexible every year

Books where the author starts throwing the kitchen sink in about 3/4 of the way through

Days with the pandemic sweater on my shoulders

People acting like discussing or pointing out racism is the problem instead of actual systemic and personal racism

The watery mustard that comes out first if you forget to shake enough

The Instagram reel shit where people stand still or dance around silently and point at words that pop up to make their point. So fucking annoying

Email inboxes that never empty

Getting the impetus to write something or the perfect line/turn of phrase to work from while I'm driving or showering then never remembering it

Violence against women and calls for us to never go anywhere alone instead of calling for the eradication of the misogynistic, patriarchal bullshit that allows toxic masculinity to perpetuate

Happy Friday! What are you over? 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - Imagine all the people Sharin' all the world

1. I am super pumped about the new yellow bedroom in Philly - ceiling, walls (Sherwin Williams SW 9015 They Call it Mellow), and trim painted. MFD is replacing the ceiling fan and we got rid of the bed and dresser in that room as they were old and it was their time. My grandmom's dresser and my great grandmom's chair will go in this room along with myself probably LOL. I'm pretty sure I want to switch our bedroom from the back of the house. 
2. My parents were here at the shore until Tuesday painting my windowsill trim. It looks great! I also sat out in the sun Monday and we porched it after work. Bruce and Ben were very pleased they stayed, as was I.

3. MFD also got a new bed frame put together on the top floor of the shore, and I got rid of box springs via trash and lamps via the local Buy Nothing group (why do people say they want something then ghost you? Just say No longer interested, thanks). I got the new microwave ordered from the appliance shop in town (shop small!) and scheduled for installation the day after Easter. My exterior doors and next group of five windows should be installed in April - my doors were ordered in fucking September so this has been a long road - and I cleared out (notice I did not say cleaned, the winter funk remains) around our apartment entry as we have a contractor coming to rebuild it to address a structural issue at the beginning of next week. We have a mile long list of things to do at the shore this spring since we didn't do jack shit in the time of corona last spring, unsure if we'd have a season or not so this year we're moving and shaking and it feels good to be doing and planning things again. Weird, but good. 
4. One of those Things To Do was a simple change out of bathroom wall coverings - they were weird brown things nailed in and MFD has switched much of it over to a peel & stick, the top of the shower still needs to be done. A friend is coming in to replace the floor and toilet and now I'm like might as well paint the ceiling and replace the light fixture and Aubrey's like maybe paint the wall tiles so something simple-ish has been Stephanied. The shower/tub is staying and the sink was replaced last year so at least there's that. Once the window and floor are replaced, it'll be a lot lighter in there. 

5. I got my tickets for the Abortion Access Front Dirty Dancing Riff-a-Thon fundraiser tonight, and my swag bag too. Clever inclusions based on the movie, which is of course one of my top three favorites ever...

6. Along with The Breakfast Club and yes yesterday was Breakfast Club Day and yes of course I watched it last night, do you even know me? My dog's name is John Bender. 

7. Most of yesterday was an absolute washout, but Monday and Tuesday were good walking days. Tuesday we were out for an hour at lunch and an hour after work. 

8. I don't have it in me to verbally address mass shootings anymore. I don't know what's left to say. Everything is left to do. I don't have the energy for advocacy and activism right now and that feels like shit even though I know that activism and advocacy is a wave for most people who don't organize as a necessity or for a living. It's a privilege to be able to say I can't be on all the time, and one that I'm well aware of. 

9. Reminder via poetry this week:

10. E-cards: say what now?

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Imagine by John Lennon

Monday, March 22, 2021

TWTW - birthday weekend #2

Friday The last day of winter! Byeee. My brother, Aubrey, and the kids arrived Thursday night. I had worked late, the house was in disarray as my shit was all over the main floor/MFD had put together a new bed frame on the top floor/old box spring moved to second floor/bathroom wall covering project happening, but it was reasonably contained by Friday morning. I worked, hit the beach at lunch with the best friend dogs, painted my nails (OPI Cozu-Melted in the sun is the light, OPI Meet Me on the Star Ferry the dark). My Dad and Carol arrived at some point, and MFD headed back to Philly to work at some point. Aubrey made excellent stuffed chicken for dinner, my niece walked Gus all by herself while I wrangled the other three, we did some Jeni's ice cream tasting, and watched March Madness. 
Saturday The kids play with all the dogs, even the old ones. My brother got donuts and we had coffee and were off for a family beach walk.
They went to the playground, and we sat around for a bit eating junk food after the kids helped Cici make an ice cream cake.. Then Carol, Aubrey, my niece and I went strolling and shopping on Asbury. As we were making our way back MFD returned from Philly/working. We were hangry upon our return and devoured the entire veggie pizza. Dinner was scalloped potatoes and Aubrey's crab cakes and both were delicious. We were in a food coma after. My brother and MFD went out for a bit. We had a comedic moment when three adults, two kids, and four dogs were on one couch and Aubrey was left blissfully alone for five minutes. 

Sunday After a packed Saturday, Sunday was a slow moving morning. We painted some shells in the driveway before doing another family beach trip (kids and Bruce not pictured). We strolled the boards, I beat Carol and Dad at arcade basketball but not Stephen and Aubrey, and we got ice cream and enjoyed the warm sun. 
We continued that at home on the porch before ordering Randazzo's for dinner and seeing Stephen, Aubrey, and the kids off. We watched Beach Front Bargain Hunt and heckled buyers and realtors then MFD headed back to Philly with the old dogs. My dad is not a dog person but my dogs love my dad LOL. We try to keep them away but it doesn't always work. They love Carol too, also not a huge dog person. 

Another great family weekend with the original quarantine crew. We feel the promise of a good summer ahead and hope you do too. 

Birthday weekend #3 coming with family over Easter! We'll take a break next weekend to do some shore chores. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - I am older now I have more than what I wanted

1. Does anyone want to talk about how I kept a new, unused and unboxed coffee carafe for six years, decided I was never going to need it, and gave it away in a buy nothing group only to shatter the carafe in the pot a month later? Good, me neither. 
2. My grocery store now has Jeni's! I'm so fucking excited. 

3. My grocery store also has a pretty fucking legit collection of OPI, like better than anywhere I've been in person aside my pharmacy near my office - Pickwick Pharmacy in Philly. I don't mean better as in quantity, I mean better as in colors that appeal to me. I should clarify before anyone goes off on how this is nothing.
4. We did the wearing of the green and the eating of the corned beef and cabbage yesterday. I roasted the corned beef, lopped a piece off to boil with potatoes/cabbage/carrots, then separately steamed potatoes and sautéed cabbage because as Tabitha Brown says, that's my business. 

5. My family is coming down tonight and I had to go into the upstairs bedrooms to do something other than dump shit in them to be sorted "later" for the first time since like October. Why do I do that shit? Put it away the first goddamn time. Also rediscovered the bed frame put up there still in a box thinking we'd do it over the winter and I was surprised to see it yesterday. So that's on MFD's to do list today.

6. Pier photos and best friend beach romps forever. I'm already sad that open beach season for dogs is winding down and every grumpy asshole on earth will have something to say when I take them there at the ass crack of dawn. 

7. Reminder, stolen from cousin Brenna. Call it out when you see it. Stop saying fucking chinese virus. White supremacy is again the cause and where to place the blame for the rise in anti-Asian violence. Shove the sex addict angle up your fucking ass in regards to the most recent murder. Also provide protection for sex workers. 

8. Also, are we all about very fucking done with mediocre, fragile men taking their insecurities and frustrations out on women? And very fucking done with them being arrested without a scratch on them after gunning down multiple people and portrayed as sad men who had a bad day but are no longer harmless since they took their mediocrity out by committing acts of horrible violence against others and are apparently no longer dangerous because it's out of their system now when they're white? I am. Everyone gets arrested without a scratch on them or no one does - you all pick. Jesus take the fucking wheel. I'm done with toxic masculinity and the lengths we go to to protect it in this patriarchal pyramid scheme of a society. ALSO also also notallmenmymotherfuckingassfixyourselves. 

9. Due to that and a million other reasons, reminder to you ladies: 
10. E-cards: It's true. 

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Wasted on the Way by Crosby, Stills & Nash 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

TWTW - birthday weekend #1

Friday Up, showered, working, and doing laundry by 8, Target order delivered by 9, car loaded to go back to the shore by 11, meeting, and I expected to be on the road after a noon meeting but alas I got backed up and didn't leave until 7 which is fine, less time alone for the old dogs as MFD was out working. I took B and B with me, arrived a little after 8:30, unpacked everything, and fell into bed where I was up until close to 2 reading. 

Saturday Since I was up late, I slept in until close to 10. Pre-pandemic, I would have set an alarm and forced myself up but I'm not about that life anymore and guess what? I still showered, dropped library books off, dropped recycling off, and picked up my deviled egg bagel order from Deadend Bakehouse before 11. The dogs were co-pilots on errands, and we also picked up CBD for Gus and took a long walk on Dog Beach. Back at home we cleaned up a bit in the house, put new cushions out which I will surely soon regret as they have white in them, sat on the porch for a spell so Bruce could Gladys Kravitz the neighbors, and I painted my nails (OPI sweater weather is the dark green, OPI Pre-Pair for Summer the light). 
MFD and the old dogs arrived around 4 and we went OUT to dinner. INSIDE at one of our favorite restaurants here that has just reopened for the season. Our first time eating inside since we left Aunt Carrie & Uncle Jim's on 3/16/2020. I know people have been doing it, and that it's been safe and restaurants have done a great job ensuring that it is, we just haven't. Most of that was a mental thing for me and I'm glad we went. It did feel like we were doing something wrong, and I also felt panicky when it was time to leave, but everything was amazing as it always is at Luigi's and it felt good to see them in person. They were safe and sanitized and obviously masked up, and we masked up when they approached the table. After we went up to the boards for our first Kohr Bros of the season and ran into Lauren on her way out which was nice. It was fucking cold so we wolfed down our Kohr Bros (obvi moved away from people and removed masks to eat), we beat it home to lounge and watch I Care A Lot on Netflix. It was good. 

Sunday we eased into the day, reading and lounging. Otherwise we had Yianni's for dinner and pie for Pi Day. 
Our big Sunday outing was to the South End where we once again attempted to walk all the way around to Corson's and once again were thwarted by westerly winds. We brought the wagon specifically for Gus to ride in and he did, for about 10 minutes out of over an hour. It did come in handy for the little dogs so they could hide from the gale force winds blowing the sand on the way back. Lord. They're so low to the ground it's hard for them when it's blowing like mad. I did take my socks and boots off and walk back in bare feet, my first time grounding myself into the earth since November. It always feels so freaking good to do that after a while of not.

Monday I slept in until 9:30 due to Gus being up. MFD picked up breakfast from Hooked on Breakfast, which we meant to try all last year as it opened during pandemic season but we never got there. I never get pancakes but I had to try the cannoli pancakes and they did not disappoint. Then I did what middle aged women like me who are not away on vacation do on their birthdays: dropped packages off at the post office (which I did in sneakers I bought last year and never wore and my RBG mask for a big ups to my 3/15 birthday twin who is no longer with us), exchanged a non-functioning lamp at Target, read, and wanted to eat dinner senior citizen early but refrained. MFD picked up from The Crab Trap and it was delicious. We hit the beach for a family walk after, and that's about that. I typically have reflections on the night of my birthday, and I've been posting them on Instagram it seems the past few years. 

Yes, it says Birthday Weekend #1 because I will be celebrating again next weekend, which is almost here by now since I'm posting last weekend's shit on Wednesday, and again Easter weekend. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'll be making a corned beef, I'm not sure how I'm doing it yet. Probably roasted as I prefer it that way - like this. I've got no Guinness though, so I'll probably use coke. Happy birthday to my Grandmom, who made the best corned beef, boiled version. Here's the last lesson she taught me

Monday, March 15, 2021

This is 44

Today I turn 44, tossing a wink and both middle fingers in the air toward society’s attempts to make aging women feel like we lose relevance and vitality with every added gray, pound, line, year. 

No matter what I do, try, or buy, I’ll never weigh what I did at 15. My face will never look as fresh as it did at 16. My hair will never be the uniform color it was at 18. 

I don’t want to look like I did at 15, 16, or 18. Every day I’m on this earth I become more myself. I sink deeper into her. I want to look like her too. 

Many people do not get the privilege of aging so I’m not walking back a second of it. I don’t want to erase the years I’ve lived that are written across this body which has carried me through this world so carefully since I was born a Tuesday child in March 1977 when the daffodils were up early in my Gamma’s yard. 

Youth is great. It is for trying on a bunch of things, thinking you are invincible and have all the time in the world, being wrong over and over again while thinking you’re right every time. But just like I wouldn’t go back to re-live it, I’m not wasting an iota of energy in my 40s chasing what I looked like 25 years ago. I’m not trading who I am now and all the wonderful things the years have brought me (or the wisdom when what the years brought was not too fucking wonderful) for unlined skin. I love getting older. The alternative is not attractive. 

I want to be healthy, hydrated, and moisturized. Like everyone, I have appearance preferences when it comes to myself. I have not used a hair dryer in going on 10 years. I wear what I’m comfortable in. I love how lipstick looks. I don’t do face makeup. I prefer solo walking. I want to always be strong enough to get up off the toilet without assistance in my old age. I like having my hair colored and my nails painted. I do those things for me. Whatever you do regarding your appearance and how your body functions, I hope you do it because it makes you feel good in your skin or provides you with a health benefit - not because you feel like you have to to be worthy of something in this life, or like the only beauty and relevance is beauty and relevance in proximity to youth, or like your appearance is more important than what’s in your head, heart, and soul. It’s not. 

I am a 100% believer that you look your best when you FEEL your best, regardless of what your actual appearance is at that time. I look my best 

When I’m sitting in a loose circle on the beach with people I love, nowhere to be but there, sun warm on my skin, head thrown back laughing
When I’m walking around taking pictures of things that catch my eye
When I’m watching my dogs run ahead of me on the beach
When I’m walking with my head down trolling for shells and other treasures
When I’m outside for Magic Hour
When I’m traveling and overwhelmed in the best way with what’s in front of and around me
When I’m alone in my car, windows down, sunroof open, music loud, singing like it’s my job, driving too fast
When I’m slunk down low in a chair on the porch unaware of anything but the book I’m reading 
When I’m saying what needs to be said or standing up for what is right
When I’m riding my bike on the boardwalk 
When I sit back immediately after painting my nails 
When it’s my birthday and I’m not working 

In most of my feeling best instances my hair is probably wild, there’s probably a coffee stain on my shirt, I definitely have dog hair all over me, I may or may not have showered, 98% of the time there are sunglasses. You get the picture. But I feel good.. I am happy. That looks better than anything I can slather on my face.

I could write for days about how the world ushers aging women toward the wings just as we come more into our own power and how society attempts to shrink women and reduce them to their appearance because if we spend our time, money, and mental energy fighting the inevitable aging process, we’ve got very little left to give to making true, lasting, substantive change to the state of women in the world because we’re too tired at the end of the day. If we used the same energy we have for unearthing wrinkle erasers toward a massive strike until we are a society that values women’s safety and autonomy more than protecting men’s fragility when challenged in a patriarchal system that supports violence, we might actually see a world where any woman anywhere can walk home at any time of day or night without fear because we  stopped the world until it was so. 

But it’s my birthday so I’ll spare you the rest of my feminist manifesto. 

Happy Monday! I’ll be off doing whatever the fuck I want. Beware the Ides of March. 

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