Saturday, December 22, 2012

HBIC Reading Challenge 2013

So the end of the year is near and this time of year always gets me thinking about New Year's Resolutions. I generally make a few resolutions each year and have been pretty successful about sticking to them. They are more like yearly goals or milestones, rather than resolutions, but I make them still the same. Having a quantitative time frame in which to accomplish goals makes it easier for me to visualize my timeline and actually get things done. I have a few goals in mind for 2013 that I have been formulating... 
Since I moved into my own house about 6 weeks ago I started watching a lot of TV (umm Duck Dynasty why are you so hilarious!?) and it has kinda got me bummed out. It is sooo easy to sit in front of the TV and waste a few hours without even noticing! Since I just started paying for TV again I told myself I could enjoy it until January and then I would have to cut back and force myself back into my good old habit of reading at least every evening. When my dear friend Rachel was visiting me from LA a few weeks ago we visited an awesome local book store, The Tattered Cover, so she could pick up a new book for her plane ride home. She told me that she decided to start reading all of the titles off of a list of 100 must read classics. She figured even if it took her 10 years it was a good goal and she would never be without a book suggestion.  I thought it sounded like an awesome idea and a great parameter for my 2013 goal of reading more. I could just go through the list and check each title off one by one. I talked about the idea with my other friend Emily, another avid reader, and we looked over a few different 100 lists but none of them suited our fancy. We had either already read too many of the titles and didn't want to read them again ( Harry Potter books for instance) or didn't want to read them in the first place ( aka The Bible). And then lighting struck...BANG...let's start our own book club and read books we want! We decided to do it together so we could keep each other on track and discuss the books as we go. In my aim to share my goals, struggles, ideas and accomplishments with the HBIC community I decided it would be awesome to start a full-fledged HBIC Book Club! Yippee! Another brilliant idea from the minds of babes...

So here is the plan:
Each month for an entire year we will read one book and our Facebook group will host open conversation and discussion as we read. We can vote on the next months topic and/or title so we read books that we are interested in but also new to us. We hope that some other fabulous women want to join in on this challenge and together we can read great books, have mindful discussions and accomplish something real! We took the liberty of deciding on January's book, The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea, so if you want to join the group then order it, pick it up from the library or borrow it from a friend and on January 1st start reading!  I will post reminders in the group and questions or thoughts as the month goes on so we can help each other stay on track and motivated. Feel free to post your own questions, thoughts and suggestions in the group as we go along. At the end of each month we will have a group convo about the overall book and then start our next pick! Sounds like fun right?? 
If you are interested in joining the official HBIC book cub then join the Facebook group and start reading! Everyone is invited and welcomed. I challenge you to take on a goal for 2013 that may seem a little too big, a little scary or a little out of your comfort zone and then reap the sweet rewards of self-affirmation when you kick that goal's ass. Maybe your goal involves the HBIC book club, maybe not, but whatever it is know that I support you!  When we support each other in our goals, we all accomplish more.

 Happy Holidays and a Fruitful 2013!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Best Online-Shopping, Money-Saving Secret!

Ok, so it is no secret to my friends, family and UPS delivery man that I am obsessed with online shopping. Like basically everything else, the internet has revolutionized consumerism and changed shopping habits globally. I started to seriously shop online because I was busy, always sitting at the computer and needed to save money (while still keeping up with my shoe habit). 

The more research I did the more I found that unlike traditional shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, shopping online gives much more power to the customer and with unlimited competition from retailers, the deals are endless! Power to the people! If you are willing to put up with an extra step or two of research then you can save ridiculous amounts of money online.  I just want to pass along the best kept online shopping secret I have found so far, especially since the holidays are here and you my already be thinking about what you want to get for gifts. 

Ebates. This site is genius. It has partnered with thousands of online retailers to offer cash back bonuses and special discount codes to it's members. As long as you start at Ebates and shop from one of their partner sites you will earn cash back. Then every quarter, they will mail you your cash back check or deposit directly into your PayPal account. My first cash back bonus was over $100! And I swear I only bought things that I was already planning on buying. Everyone that I have told about this site loves it! My friend recently saved a few thousand dollars using this site while she was planning and buying things for her wedding. 

Make sure to always start at Ebates and find the store you want to shop at OR search for the item you want to buy and Ebates will give you options from all the sites that carry that item and you can decide what the best deal is. 
Here is a screen shot of some of the clothing store cash back options:

There are other similar sites but from all my research I have found this to be the best, with the best selection of online stores (Amazon, Target,, and literally thousands more, even health food sites, flower sites, Groupon!). It is free to have a membership, no strings attached. Sounds to good to be true right? I swear it isn't. 

Sign up here and happy shopping! 
Let me know what fab items you find! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dove Self Esteem Weekend 2012

Happy Friday y'all! I wanted to make sure you all knew about the Dove Self Esteem Weekend that starts today. In support of their corporate mission to help women and girls with body image and appearance issues they are holding this 3 day campaign to help people start a conversation about self- esteem with younger girls. I am a HUGE fan of corporate social responsibility and think this is an awesome campaign from Dove.

Join women across the country, October 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond - it all starts with a conversation. If you can't share over the weekend, any time is a good time to start the conversation. Not sure where to start? Download the Let's Talk Toolkit using this link.

Dove research shows that it is still important for us to address girls' anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older.
Key findings from the latest research include:

- Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
- Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
- 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
- More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic*

Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act -- you'll find unintimidating ways to make these a natural part of your talk about self-esteem. The Dove Facebook page offers a lot of cool tools and downloads to help you get the conversation started.

You can share your commitment to girls' elf-esteem with your friends on Facebook! Visit Dove's Facebook Page or use Send a Note of confidence Link to select your message and share with your friends. Send a note of confidence to the Dove community wall here.

And of course you can follow Dove on Twitter too.

This is the very touching campaign video. 

You are all beautiful to me! 

*Source: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited.

Sponsored Content. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Love and Hate Professional Sports

Giddy from the incredible Broncos win yesterday (woo!)  I got to thinking about why I simultaneously love and hate professional sports. Like so many topics, industries, and issues, I have mixed feelings about professional sports so, like all good bloggers, I compiled a list to help sort this out...

LOVE: Being a fan of a sports team build community and appreciation around a city/town/college. As I walked around the Sports Authority Field parking lots yesterday, Broncos fans were hanging out, having fun, meeting new people, sharing stories and beers all because we have one thing in common, a mutual interest in our team. Often just wearing a sports team t-shirt can garner you high-fives and hellos from perfect strangers. The mutual love for a team breaks down barriers, unites people together in light-hearted fun and reminds us all why we love our city.

HATE: Sometimes this hometown pride and adoration are taken too far. After so many major league wins fans somehow translate their excitement into debauchery, destruction and violence (examples here, here and here, just to reference a few). I first noticed this ridiculous reaction when I was in high school and the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup. Drunken fools took to the city, looting, rioting and harassing police officers to celebrate the win. Cars were burned, businesses were damaged, and people were injured ---um seriously!? See video:

People feel so strongly about their favorite team and place so much value on winning that they lose sight of actual reality and what is socially acceptable adult behavior. Not to mention the ridiculous amounts of fan on fan violence that occur every year. Just because some dude is wearing a shirt from an  opposing team does not mean you get to beat him up (and possibly leave him permanently brain damaged i.e. Brian Stow). C'mon son.

LOVE: Athletes are hot. Sports are erotic. I am not above oggling the spandex encased, buns of steel that most NFL players are sportin' or the rock hard, tattooed arms of every NBA player. Yes, I objectify athletes. But I am doing so with the utmost respect for their talent and all of the hard work they have had to dedicate to obtaining their statuesque physiques. I appreciate your muscles and your spandex - go team!

HATE: Female athletes and women's leagues are not treated equally by fans, industry or higher education. Just like every other industry female athletes are paid less and have fewer educational, promotional, and career opportunities than male athletes and are neatly kept in sexism's confines even when they are kicking ass and taking names in their respective sports (this can and will be it's own blog post one day). Let's just say sexism and the constructs of the traditional gender binary are alive and well within professional and collegiate sports and I know the matriarchs of the modern feminist movement are turning over in their graves whenever another lingerie bowl is televised.

LOVE: Athletes are idolized for being great at a sport. They have to not only be in great physical shape, but they make health and fitness their number one priority, as it is their lifeline and profession. Professional sports and athletes influence their fans to exercise, play games and adopt healthier lifestyles. Even if little boys are only working out and practicing their sport so they can obtain their dream of becoming a rich dude who gets to date models, then whatever, at least they aren't contributing to the horrifying American obesity epidemic.

HATE: Americans are obsessed with sports and hold them sacred, above many other, more important things. How many of us can quote our favorite player's college stats but don't know who our last Secretary of State was? You may keep abreast of the latest famous athlete gossip (who cheated on who, who has a gambling problem, who is running an illegal dog-fighting ring in their backyard, etc.) but have no idea what female genital mutilation, sex-trafficking, or honor killings are. The average American teenager probably knows more about professional sports history than they do about American history. If we had half as much interest in real world issues that we do in professional sports then major problems would get the attention they deserve (and fans may take to Twitter to protest ballot issues, health care problems and civil rights violations, not just to complain about the shitty NFL replacement refs.)

Professional sports are meant to be entertainment! Fun, community events, that people can enjoy with friends and loved ones. They are not an excuse to act like a fool, destroy property, hurt others or disregard every else that is happening in the world.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Bitch Series

So, last week I was questioned more than once about my use of the word Bitch, and why I think it is appropriate to use in daily conversation, in art, and as the name of my blog/movement. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to delve deeper into the social and cultural constructs of the word. I also wanted to get input from the HBIC community so I asked what women thought of it via our fav social networks Twitter and Facebook. I got a varied response on how women feel about the word, as expected, and the over-arching response was that women generally have mixed feelings (as do I) on this word. 

Some prefer not to be called a Bitch but they think it is fine to use it as a verb, say as in "stop your bitchin'!" Some think that it is ok for women to use the word, but it is not ok for men to. And some think that only some men (i.e. gay men) can use the b-word without stepping on toes. Most of the responses I received agreed that it was fine to use the word in certain contexts but would be considered offensive in other situations. For instance, it is acceptable when a women greets her girlfriends with a "Hey bitches!" (which is the connotation I attempt to use when addressing readers of this blog and followers on social networks) but not ok when a woman uses the word in a demeaning, condescending, or aggressive way towards another. And of course all of these rules change when it comes to men (especially when a man is called a Bitch and the complicated standards of masculinity that it reinforces). 

Since there are so many interesting nuances to this word, and I got such a varied response when asked about it, I decided I would put together a series of posts about Bitch, each representing and examining a different cultural context or industry and it's treatment of the word. I have a few friends who have agreed to write a guest post for The HBIC Movement in order to give this series some depth and breadth. There is no way I can consider every aspect of the word and it's constructs but I hope this series will help us gain a better understanding of the varied opinions about it, unpack some of the powerful emotion that arises from it's use and engage in a thoughtful and stimulating discussion about the socio-cultural implications of language, art, race and gender. I welcome comments, ideas and guest posts! Challenge yourself to think critically about this word and the role it plays in your culture, family, sexual identity, music, etc. and then share your thoughts with the HBIC community. Stay tuned for more posts on our favorite word -- BITCH! 

I highly encourage you to follow The HBIC Movement on Facebook and Twitter because I will share more videos, pics and articles there that will add to this discussion (and also other awesome and hilarious things). 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Help a Bitch out!

I really want to write a post about the word Bitch. I want to explain my history with this word, how the HBIC Movement came to be, and why I proudly let my Bitch flag fly now. But, I think this is a great conversation to have as a community, as women, as feminists, as self-described bitches and bitch-lovers. I really want to hear why you love or hate the word Bitch! Does it offend you? Does it empower you? Do you think that it has be redefined by contemporary pop-culture? Or is it's usage worse than ever? Do you know an interesting fact about the word's history? Does it play a role in your own history? Has it's meaning changed throughout your life? Would you say Bitch in front of your grandmother? 

Share with me! Share with each other! 
Either comment on this post, answer our survey and share your thoughts on our Facebook wall
or tweet me @WhatsUpMGB

P.S. You can buy the Bitch cross stitch set pictured above here. If anyone with cross stitch talent wants to make this for me I will love you forever! And pay you $20 ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chris Brown is an idiot.

Well, if you thought you could go more than a few days without ridiculous Chris Brown news, then you were wrong. Today the internet exploded with pics of his new neck tatt, which although unconfirmed by Brown himself, looks an awful lot like a battered woman's face.
Um what? Yes, see pic below...

Sources close to Brown claim that it is not Rihanna's face, you remember his ex-gf who he beat to a bloody pulp back in 2009 (in case you did forget), and any resemblance is just coincidental. Even if this is true, then the fact still remains that Chris Brown, and who ever he hangs out with and gives him advice or when asked how his newest tattoo looks, just says "ya dude, shit looks dope!" are all idiots. Even if this tattoo is of some Egyptian god, as some twitter users are claiming, the face still looks an awful lot like a battered woman and considering his past you think this fool would have taken a step back and said, "Wait, is this really a good idea? This stupid tattoo looks like a beaten face and I have a history of domestic violence and even though I have apologized and am trying to change my ways maybe I shouldn't plaster this across my neck? I wonder if this will offend any survivors or advocates or FANS who could quite possibly buy my records, or blog about me? Maybe I should ask my tattoo artist to revise the design so it looks less violent (and shitty)?" 

The true meaning behind the tattoo is actually not that important, how it is perceived by the public is, however. This is magnified a million times over because Brown is a hugely famous artist with millions of fans who look up to him and are influenced by him (whether he likes it or not). His seemingly non-chalance in regards to violence against women has ripple affects throughout the world and he needs to start acting like a more responsible public persona and think about his decisions. There is already an alarming acceptance of violence against women throughout the world and when celebrities seemingly make light of such serious situations (say with an ugly tattoo) it is ok for society to follow. Case in point, thousands of pro-violence tweets in response to Brown's Grammy's performance this year...

With his woman-beating actions he told his fans, it's ok to be abused by someone you love, or someone who is rich and good-looking, or that love and violence can intermingle once and a while. Chris Brown is not responsible for the actions other people make but he is a celebrity, who owes his success to young, impressionable, people and he needs to start acting like he understands his position in the world. Imagine what he could accomplish if he responded to the women from the tweets above with an apology and explanation about domestic violence! Take some responsibility and stop acting like an idiot.  Also your tattoo sucks. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The HBIC Resurrection

Ok so it has been like 2 years since my last post, sheesh times flies. Why has it been so long? I don't know, life started to happen, I got busy, blah, blah, all of those typical excuses. In the past few years life has changed a lot, my professional career has expanded, I've changed jobs (more than once), I've relocated back to my hometown of Denver, I've become obsessed with social media. But a lot hasn't changed for me either; I am still a committed feminist activist, I still love dogs and hip-hop and fashion and my friends and family and I still have a constant swirl of thoughts and opinions and questions running through my head that I want to share and discuss and argue about. After some recent career changes and realizations I have decided to recommit myself to this blog (with a few changes of course).

I have continued to have the urge to blog, post, and share my thoughts with others but felt like I had to confine my blog to one specific interest or issue (like feminism and pop culture, which is how this blog got started) but I, as a multi-dimensional bad ass am not only concerned with, nor do I only have compelling thoughts on, one issue. Along with feminism and pop culture, I also want to share my love of hip-hop, fashion, animals, the things I learn while I remodel my new house, or how to be an urban farmer or how to can fruits and veggies, or how my life has changed since I become dairy and gluten free, or new research in social media and web 2.0 innovations etc, etc and the ways that they all connect for me.  So today I say fuck it, I care about all of these things and have opinions on all of them, and more, and even if the only person who reads this blog is my mom, I am still going to write about whatever I want to. And thus today marks the HBIC (blog) Resurrection!

However, while the topics of this blog may be expanding, the core values and mission still remain. The HBIC Movement aims to reawaken and unbridle the awesome strength of our individual and collective womanhood. As women we are multi-faceted and have many areas of interest and concern, it is what makes us global citizens and part of a larger human network. It is our challenge to look at our world, take notice of what we do not like or approve of and work to change it, and subsequently take notice of what we love and approve of and support and nurture those things as well.  When we act upon the things we want to support and the things we need to change, we are actively participating in this Movement. Women all over the world have been doing this for ages, standing up for what we believe in, sharing information with each other and supporting each other's innovations, caring for one another. If I have the ever-nagging feeling to share my thoughts with the world wide web then I shouldn't ignore them or give myself excuses as to why I shouldn't act, but instead remind myself of all the other women throughout history that were probably unsure or scared of doing something, borrow a bit of their courage and just do it. Plus, it's not like I am risking life or limb here, I am just writing a blog, sheesh.

So I hope you enjoy the things I write about. Find them interesting, or compelling, or maddening or they just give you something to do for those first 15 minutes when you get to work and you just can't check your voicemails quite yet. I welcome ideas and questions and comments. Let me know what you are doing to move forward and be an active citizen.

I post a lot of good articles, videos and other info on Facebook so check me out there: 

  Pura Vida bitches! 
(On a recent trip to Costa Rica I learned, and continue to try to embody the national phrase "Pura Vida" that everyone says about 100 times a day to each other. It literally means, Pure Life, but colloquially means "Awesome!" "Great life!" "This is living!" "I live in Costa Rica and surf everyday and am always happy!" - you get the idea. The point is that Costa Ricans constantly remind each other of how wonderful life is and that each greeting and farewell should be marked with happiness and a smile. So Pura Vida to you!)