Monday, September 22, 2014

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following    ~From Jill of all Trades

Do you ever feel like you're drowning in an ocean of shitty blogs?

Do you wade through Feedly, Bloglovin', and Twitter helplessly, overwhelmed by mediocrity?

Do you want nothing more than to have the best blogs rounded up for you in one tidy location?

Well, I'm here to save the day.

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following
As usual.

I have gone through excruciating measures to bring you a solid 8 hilarious, helpful, moving, and/or insightful blogs for you to start reading!

They are listed in no particular order, for the record.

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following:

1. This Is Not That Blog

Claim(s) to Fame: funny

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--This Is Not That Blog
From her post Good News For People Who Hate Boring News

2. Minimalist Baker

Claim(s) to Fame: helpful, healthy, delicious

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--Minimalist Baker
From their post Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding

3. Mara Wilson Writes Stuff 

Claim(s) to Fame: funny, insightful, and Matilda

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--Mara Wilson Writes Stuff
Photo by Ari Scott

4. Young House Love

Claim(s) to Fame: inspiring, helpful, Virginians (I'm loyal, okay)

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--Young House Love
Sherry & John of Young House Love

5. (Not So) Quiet Girl 

Claim(s) to Fame: insightful, inspiring

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--(Not So) Quiet Girl
Nadia is one of my new favorite bloggers!

6. Short Stories and Sustenance

Claim(s) to Fame: clever, funny, insightful

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--Short Stories and Sustenance
The Best of Short Stories and Sustenance

7. ComaDiary

Claim(s) to Fame: artistic, insightful

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--ComaDiary
From her latest post Sketchbook Sunday #6

8. Pickleope

Claim(s) to Fame: funny 

8 Killer Blogs You Should Be Following--Pickleope
This is a Pickleope, apparently.

Follow them all on your preferred platform (I recommend Twitter or Bloglovin', but you can also find most bloggers on Feedly if you prefer)!



What other killer blogs don't I know about?  Anything to include in the next roundup?

Why I Call Myself A Feminist (And You Should Too)

Why I Call Myself A Feminist (And You Should Too)  ~From Jill of all Trades

Many of my readers know all about how I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist cult.

Given that information, it's a pretty obvious conclusion that I used to be quite conservative.  In fact, since I grew up in a fairly progressive area (Portland, Oregon, hipster capitol of the USA), I was conservative enough to be the odd one out.

Portland World Naked Bike Ride
Not hard there.  This is a real picture from the world's largest annual World Naked Bike Ride.

Photo courtesy of

I'm not kidding.

In high school I was the head of the bible study club, I was always the one asked to do the "opposing" opinion piece on the paper because I was the only conservative one on it, and I frequently got into arguments with my Theory of Knowledge teacher in which no one else in the class backed me up.

I also dressed strangely, like I still do, except it was awkwardly modest and old-fashioned.

Jill in high school
Yes, that is me.  *sigh*

I was fucking weird.

It would follow then that I was against abortion, against homosexuality, against sex outside of marriage, and--yes--against feminism.

Rush Limbaugh is a dick
And I STILL thought Rush Limbaugh was a dick.

These are not things I'm proud of.  

I know I was brainwashed from the day I was born, by my family and by everyone I knew.  

I know I was homeschooled the first half of my life and therefore had no exposure to other ways of thinking.  

I know I was just a kid, and I know I started to change my beliefs by the time I was 18.  

But I can't help but feel ashamed for all the people I judged or criticized, and for all the years I wasted on this bullshit that could have been used to make a difference.  I always meant the best, and thought I was helping people, but I truly wasn't, and I think it will take a while to forgive myself for that.

That said, I've obviously gone completely the opposite direction on all of these things.  

I have, over the years, shifted from old-fashioned and conservative to a blatant godless leftist vegan hippie with blue hair and tattoos who swears like a sailor (and married a sailor) and is outspoken and active for the rights of the oppressed and the common man/woman.

Jill the Riveter Feminist
This is how I imagine myself.

And now, I call myself a feminist.

I can remember clearly why I was so opposed to it.  I, like much of the conservative community, especially women and children, had been fed lies.  

I was told about the bra-burning, "bitchy," strife-ridden, hairy-legged feminist who hated men and babies and wanted women to have all the power.  

The Feminist Stereotype

I was told that feminists aren't following the word of God because God said that men and women are different and have different strengths and therefore different roles.  (Note: they always said "different" and not "unequal," but that's really what they meant.)

I believed that if I called myself a feminist, I would be aligning myself with a man-hating, God-hating, trouble-causing, bitchy, ugly movement.

I was so, so wrong.

Feminism is the belief that we are all equal, regardless of gender, and should be treated as such.  

Feminism Definition

I may not have believed that when I was a Christian (one more strike against you, Christianity), but now I believe that wholeheartedly, to an extent that I still shock myself when I remember there was a time when I didn't.   

I actually thought I was inferior to men.  

After all, the bible says so, and my church wasn't one to try to be P.C.  If the bible said it, they were like "well all right then. Sorry ladies, but fuck you."

God says fuck you to women everywhere
God was on board.

Feminists are not a personality type.  

They are not angry, they are not bitchy, they are not bearers of hairy legs, they are not bra-burners, they are not baby-haters or man-haters.  They are people.  Men, women, old, young, gay, straight, and everything in between.  My husband is a feminist.  I am a feminist.  My mother is a feminist.  My old A.P. European History teacher is a feminist.  BeyoncĂ© is a feminist, and Patrick Stewart is a feminist.  

Some of us might be angry or have hairy legs or be averse to small children, but that does not and should not undermine our point.

Calling yourself a feminist is scary, because it's a lot easier to be accepted into an oppressive system if you appear to be going along with it.  

Calling yourself a feminist is saying "I think the system is bullshit."  It's standing up and declaring that women deserve more than they're getting (you know, like equal pay and the right to decide on our own medical care).   

wage gap women mothers
Not fucking okay.

Graphic courtesy of

Anytime you stand up for what is right, it is scary.

But it's also hugely important.  If you're a woman and you say "I'm not a feminist," you might as well say "I consider myself and all other humans in possession of similar genitalia inferior to you and others with your type of genitalia."  

It's twisted.  It undermines the movement.  It perpetuates a stereotype.

Don't be afraid.  Be strong.  

Be Strong

If you believe we are all created equal, then don't be afraid of what people will assume or attach to it when you call yourself a "feminist."  

You don't stop calling yourself a woman because people associate it with overreacting and being emotional, do you?  You don't stop calling yourself a man because people associate it with anger and violence.  You don't stop calling yourself an American because people assume you're fat and hate black people.

Be yourself, define yourself how you are, and do your research before you dismiss something.

I did.  And I'm glad I did.  

I'm ashamed when I see other women say "oh I'm not a feminist, I love men!" or some such bullshit because I know that was once me, and could have stayed me if I hadn't gotten out of the church.  

Jill in high school
I looked like a different goddamn person.

But I'm proud to stand up now and declare proudly that I am a feminist, even knowing that people will assume things about me for it.  

In fact, that sort of fuels me.  

It means it's even more important that I add to the feminist movement, so that we can slowly change people's perceptions.

I can make a difference, and so can you.  It all starts with admitting it. 

Some recent news: Emma Watson has come out with some brilliant thoughts lately at the UN HeForShe launch about this very topic.  Check it out at The Independent.

Emma Watson Calls Herself A Feminist (And You Should Too)
Tweet This!

Some excellent feminist reading by Jessica Valenti--Full Frontal Feminism: a Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters:

Do you call yourself a feminist?  Share in the comments!

How to Deal With a Lame A.P. English Class

How to Deal With a Lame A.P. English Class

I was a smart kid, back in high school.  I took hard classes, especially in subjects that weren't math and science.  I think it's because I wasn't very cool or fun or fashionable or really very pretty either, at least not in an attractive-to-high-schoolers kind of way, and I had really crappy self-esteem.

So I thought, hell.  I'm smart.  I'll be the smart kid.  Maybe someone will like me cuz I help them with their homework or something.

Needless to say, this didn't work out too well.  People still didn't like me.

I was a huge nerd, especially with English and literature classes, so of course my junior and senior years I took Advanced Placement English.  Junior year it was awesome.  I had the most amazing teacher--to this day one of the best I've ever had--and I learned a TON.

He taught me about LIFE, man, and how to write in a way that pierces the reader.  It was amazing.

Senior year...not so much.

I had this wonderfully sweet lady for a teacher, and don't take this the wrong way, because she was sooooo nice and I think at one point in her career she was a really good teacher.

But by the time she got to my year she was starting to get quite old, and had a tendency to repeat herself.  A lot.

For example, I distinctly remember hearing her describe the way someone was talking, I think it was Hamlet, and this is LITERALLY what she said.

"And he went on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...."

It was at least that many "and on's."

I got a 5 on that AP test at the end of the year*, and it had more or less nothing to do with what I learned from her.  It was a combination of my own personal strength with literature and the knowledge I carried over from junior year AP English.

You know how I know it wasn't because of what she taught me?

Because I--the most attentive student of all time, who would have a horrible guilt complex for missing a question on homework or not studying quite as long as the teacher told me to--yes, even I could not pay attention in class. 

I wrote in my notebook as if I was taking notes on her lecture, but really it was my diary and I was writing about my first husband and how cute he was and how I wished he'd go out with me.  Or I'd get started on my homework for other classes.  Or I'd doodle in the margins.

Or, if I got really bored, I'd teach myself some literature skills and write poetry.

Like this:

Funny Poem Apostrophe in Tercets AP English


The senioritis didn't help either.

That was definitely the class I skipped the most that year.  And what's hilarious is that the whole thing was such a joke, none of this even hurt my grade.  I got a high A.  For scribbling in my diary, inwardly mocking the teacher, going home "sick" to skip the class all the time, and pretty much doing nothing but the papers.

Which I BS'ed, of course.

Just one more example of why I'm SO GLAD I'm done with high school.

*For those unfamiliar with the AP test system and how the grading works, 5 is good.  It's graded on a scale of 1-5.

Friday, September 19, 2014

5 Halloween Costumes Everyone Will Do This Year

Remember that year when at least 5 people at every Halloween party was an Angry Bird?  Or Lady Gaga in her stuffed animal dress?  Or--my god--the Iron Mans???  SO MANY FUCKING IRON MANS!

Iron Man and Iron Ladies, or, Pimpinest Iron Man Ever
Or Iron LADIES.  #pimpinestguyever  #sofuckingclassy

Photo courtesy of

Well I'm here to help you all avoid being one of those people.  Here are my predictions for the 5 Halloween costumes everyone will be doing this year:

1. Miley Cyrus Twerker

Miley Cyrus Bear Outfit Twerking
My favorite part is the giraffe horns.

Photo courtesy of

Everyone will fucking do this.  Paris Hilton did it last year:

Paris Hilton Miley Cyrus Bear Costume
Photo courtesy of

...but that doesn't mean it won't be more of a sensation this year.  Look, it's only September 19th and they're already sold out of it some places:

Miley Cyrus Bear Costume

Don't be Miley Cyrus this year.  It won't be worth it.

2. Elsa

Disney Frozen Elsa

Everyone with eyes saw Disney's latest hit Frozen, which came out in November of last year.  The music from the movie topped the charts for the first 13 weeks of 2014, and the internet was inundated with "Let it Go" covers.

...including some really awful ones.

The ice queen, Elsa, has been a super-popular character.  I cannot explain to you how many "how to do your hair like Elsa" tutorials I saw on Pinterest this year.

Disney Frozen Elsa
Step One: braid it.  Step Two: that's it.

You might think it will only be little kids you will have to worry about being matchy-matchy with, but check this out:

Disney Frozen Adult Elsa Costume don't bother.

3. Maleficent

Disney Maleficent
Photo courtesy of

Maleficent came out in May, and despite being much less of a hit than expected, it drew in a pretty strong fan base.  Angelina Jolie played the misunderstood villain, and as much as everyone loves a misunderstood villain, they especially love Angelina Jolie in sexy weird witch costumes with crazy hats.

So look out.  If you're thinking about buying this costume:

Disney Adult Maleficent Costume
Notice it's sold out.

...or this one:

Disney Adult Maleficent Costume
Also sold out.

...or this one:



4. Groot

It's not so much that I think everyone is going to be Groot (the absolute best character in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy).  It's more that I think lots of people will do it, and they'll almost all do it badly.  If you are like a fucking fantastic cosplayer and can make it look badass, please do it.

Badass Groot Costume Cosplay Guardians of the Galaxy
This is what I mean by "badass Groot costume."

By Calen Hoffman, found on Tumblr.

If not, don't even try, and definitely don't buy some shitty $30 one from a costume store, like this one:

Shitty Groot Costume


5. Anyone from Orange is the New Black

Yes, season 2 of OITNB has been just as awesome as season 1 was, and yes, it will be tempting to dress up as one of the characters just like everyone did last year.

Orange is the New Black Costumes
The Santa Cruz Police even got on board.  Not kidding.

And we can't forget Julianne Hough's EPIC FAIL when she donned blackface of all fucking things to dress up as Crazy Eyes (and it wasn't even a good imitation):

Julianne Hough OITNB racist costume Crazy Eyes Suzanne
Photo courtesy of

Even if you don't decide to go with irony like the police department or racism like Julianne Hough, this is old and tired and you will probably regret it when you're not the only one in an orange jumpsuit and some subtle "defining characteristic" like "ooh red lipstick, I'm Lorna!" or "a blonde stripe in my hair, I'm Daya!"

Give up.

Instead of any of these things, try one of the following:

*Get a top hat, grow your hair out and don't wash it for a week or two, put pale makeup on your face, and wear some weird old-fashioned suit or something to be Jack White.  Extra points if you have a friend who will cut her bangs too short and wear a tiny red dress and white platforms to be Meg White.

The White Stripes
Photo courtesy of

*Beetlejuice. It's never a bad idea and you can be gross and obnoxious and get away with it.


*If you can find yellow plaid, do Clueless.  Someone does it every year, but it never gets old and is 100% recognized by anyone over the age of 21, and you'll hardly run into 15 other Chers and Dionnes in 2014.

Cher and Dionne Clueless

*Put your underwear over your shorts, stitch a Q onto a tshirt, and clip a red towel to your shoulders.  BAM.  Quailman from Doug.

Doug Quailman
Doug property of Nickelodeon

*If all else fails, be a goddamn witch or princess or Superman or something.  You'll be happier with something generic than with some shit that you think will be awesome and original and turns out to be the Halloween fad of the year!

What are you planning on being this year?  Any more costumes you think will be big fads?

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