Blog| Brown Girl

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I have brown skin.

Specifically I’m Hispanic. When I was born, I was dark, hairy, and chubby with dark brown eyes and brown-black hair versus my sister who was light skinned and light haired and who looked almost Asian.

I’ve always been dark. If I’m in the sun for longer than half an hour, I turn 10 shades darker. I tan rather than sun burn and I have jokingly referred to myself as the color of a burnt cookie.

I do not know Spanish and growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of cultural ties. My parents didn’t cook a lot of Mexican food, we didn’t go to church that often, never celebrated Cindo de Mayo or Dia de los Muertos and we only went to Mexico once for like a day and came back.

My grandmothers were the ones that cooked a lot of Mexican food and made fresh tortillas and made me menudo. My parents had us young so my grandma on my dad’s side essentially raised my parents and us and my aunt and uncle all at once on her own. She named me Samantha and taught my parents how to take care of us while working full time and helping my aunt with her kids and my teenage uncle.

All in all, I didn’t realize that being brown was any different than being white when I was young. Until I started consuming media.

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I never really had representation in the media growing up. It was hard enough to find women role models much less Latina role models so I grew up with a skewed beauty standard.

I remember seeing all these beautiful women and thinking I wasn’t pretty because I was too dark. Being into the “goth” aesthetic didn’t help that any. Everyone was pale white with sharp black hair and blue eyes. I was a preteen the first time I heard about bleaching cream and wondered if there was a home brew version or if I could sneakily buy some without my mom knowing.

Growing up, I avoided the sun to be pale. When I learned makeup, the first shades I got were too light. I didn’t like the way bright colors looked on me because I was darker than they were and it looked weird to me.

Being curvy and top heavy did not help at all to fit the thin, willowy, pale ideal that had formed in my head.

I was about 20 when I finally gave up and just accepted that this was how I looked, but it’s still stuck in my head. I don’t like the sun and I still don’t wear bright colors. I went “blonde” for a year and hated that the coppery color was the same shade as my skin.

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I think about this often, this warped idea of beauty I’ve developed. It’s not my fault and I know it. Years of being shown skinny, pale skinned women with little to no representation have cemented the idea in my head. But instead of discarding it all, I’ve used it to show the problem.

I’ve been arguing and talking about representation in comics and the media for years now and I think it’s because of this brown shame I have. Seeing superheroes like Miss America Chavez, Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes, and characters like Sombra from Overwatch shouldn’t be so rare that it gets made to be a big deal. We should have more than a handful of fictional characters that we claw to our chests because it’s all we have.

If I had had that representation when I was younger, things could have been different. I wouldn’t have had to know what bleaching cream is and worry that I couldn’t dress up as my favorite character because I wouldn’t look right.

But it’s still a problem. I remember hearing Tim Burton’s lame excuse for why he only really casts white people and feeling hurt because my skin color didn’t match his visual aesthetics enough. Then there was Marvel’s excuse that the reason their sales had dropped was because they had too much diversity and female lead titles. Like having a brown character is so distracting to the status quo.

We have work to do. I don’t want a little girl growing up and thinking she doesn’t matter because she doesn’t see herself in the faces on TV or in the comics she reads. This kind of stuff does have lasting effects and even now, I’m fighting to not be ashamed of who I am.

I’m brown. Deal with it.

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-Sam <3

Blog| Father’s Day Weekend Recap

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This past weekend was Father’s Day and it was busy, but in a non-work way. Rony got up early Saturday and went to a designer coffee thing before I even woke up and got out of bed and then we cleaned the house and had a meet and greet with a big puppy we’ll be watching in July. The dog was HUGE. Like a lab mix with giant giraffe stilt legs. But it went well and it should be an easy dog job.

Saturday was hot. It was 110 degrees. We let the dogs out early in the morning and then again at 2pm for 10 minutes and they were dying. I thought we were all going to die. I was born in Texas and have lived here my whole life and something must have gone wrong because I was NOT built for heat. I get overheated easily and my hair is thick so I sweat and get heat sick. It’s awful.

After the dog meeting we went and had lunch with a friend and went to Target to get some shopping done. It was so hot outside the coolers in the store couldn’t keep the food cool enough and everything went bad. They were having to toss everything that wasn’t in the closed freezer section. So we only got half our groceries which sucked.

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On the bright side, I bought Beauty and the Beast on Blu-Ray and got a toy Wonder Woman sword. It was cool.

After that we went to my grandma’s house for a BBQ and Rony played basketball with my dad, uncle, and cousins. I played with Almond’s mama, Peanut, for a bit and her grandpa, Otto the Dalmatian. She’s almost his size and it’s weird. My dog is going to be a small horse.

Saturday night I sneakily wrapped up Rony and my dad’s Father’s Day presents and made the animals put their paw prints on a card. The cats weren’t happy but I managed to get a good paw print but oh dear god Leon and Almond threw the biggest fit. I could barely get anything on the card because they were not having it.

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Rony and I do celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day with each other and treat it more like a Fur Parents day. I know not everyone agrees with it, but we treat the animals like kids and we use the day to show appreciation for the work we do. We’ve started the trend where the presents tend to have something to do with the animals.

I got Rony a giant theater Alien: Covenant poster he wanted and this adorable kangaroo pouch cat sweater. Here’s the thing about this sweater: you can put your cat in it. The kangaroo pouch is so you can hold your cat. It’s amazing and even has little pockets in the front, paw prints on the sleeves, and cat ears. And holy crap, it worked so well. Pumpkaboo loved to be in it. Rony worked in the garden with her in it. As long as he didn’t bend over, she stayed in.

Ryder was less than thrilled but stayed in it too. The tassels worked as a play toy and they were entertained enough with the outdoors that they didn’t seem bothered. Rony loved it so much.

 

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We took my dad to breakfast, a little local cafe with cheap but amazing breakfast food. My dad doesn’t go anywhere that’s not a chain and we wanted to show him this so he can get out of his comfort zone a bit. He loved it and it wasn’t that much for all three of us to eat.

After that we went to Home Depot, got some extension cords, lights, chicken wire to secure the back fence, and tomato poles to keep them upright. We spent 4 hours in the garden, extending out the pumpkin plants, re-potting strawberries, and bracing the tomato plants. The front of the house looks ten times better now that we have plants everywhere and the pumpkins are growing like crazy.

The police officer that helped me during my robbery drive by and said hi to us and we chatted for a bit. He likes to drive by the house sometimes and make sure we’re alright and check on us, which we greatly appreciate. He’s a funny guy and sweet and remembers us because of how crazy that day was.

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Friday I started a small new project that I’ll do a new post about. I started reading Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman script on Facebook Live. I read about 20+ pages a day and once I’m done I’ll make a blog post about it, my worries, and why I’ve been worried about him directing the new Batgirl film. People have asked and this was a fun way to do it.

You can see the Intro video here.

After that I passed out for 4 hours because I have not been feeling great lately. Plus I think the sun finally did me in. And that was our exciting weekend.

I think this week I may do a house tour so look out for that and I’ve talked to my sister about doing a 365 Photos Challenge. I’m not doing so good at posting to Instagram every day but I think if I do a blog post with all the weeks pictures that would be good. We’re going to start July 1st which is the same day we’re throwing a BBQ party.

Lots going on! How did you spend you Father’s Day Weekend?

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-Sam <3

Blog| Summerween!

IMG_1801IMG_1812As far as I know, the concept of Summerween gained momentum when the cartoon Gravity Falls did an episode about it but there have been Summerween parties and celebrations before that. The idea is pretty simple. It’s a Summer Halloween Party because dressing up one time a year just isn’t enough.

This year, our friend Adam celebrated the 10 year anniversary since the very first Summerween party he threw. The party is a big deal and gets a ton of attendance from people. We carve watermelons instead of pumpkins, make all the inside fruit into trash punch, and have a celebratory apple bobbing contest.

The house gets packed full of people from all over the place and usually, I end up seeing way too many people from high school. There’s beer and alcohol everywhere and sometimes people even bring snacks. You guard your pack of beer close because it will get taken if you leave it in the fridge.

Because Rony and I collect Halloween decor, most of the decorations came from us.

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Last year me and Rony went as summer goths, inspired by that episode of Portlandia with Danzig from the Misfits. This year was less weird but we managed to pull off a pretty cool costume. Rony was a Xenomorph and I was Ripley. His costume took the longest.

We got a black morph suit from Amazon that ended up being a size too small. So we left the head part off. Next we got some black tubing from Home Depot for the tail and weird shoulder pieces, black flip flops so Rony would walk around without cutting his feet, Dollar tree sunglasses, and a party blower we painted black for the second mouth.

His teeth and mouth was a white dust mask we painted black and cut the shape of the mouth into. This let him breathe and also meant he could have the party blower pop out. I painted the teeth onto the mask and then added hot glue to give them dimension and to make the spit drips. The original movie used KY Jelly and I wasn’t about to do that.

His head was the most complicated part. The helmet is made out of giant plastic pickle juice jugs. No joking. Our house and car and everything smells like pickle juice. We had to heat it up to cut it in half and then ended up having to buy a second jug just to make it long enough. We got a lot of weird looks and now our fridge is filled with pickle juice in various containers.

The helmet is held on with a headband and the two pieces stuck together with hot flue, Gorilla Glue, and duct tape. I then spray painted all of it black, sealed it, and gloss varnished it to make it look glossy. To make the bulbous backpart, it’s a purple balloon that was suppose to be black and so we covered it up with pantyhose stockings. It’s also held in with duct tape. We painted any exposed parts of his face with water activated body paints and then he was all done!

You’ve never seen Rony as excited and happy as when he was a Xenomorph. He danced around everywhere and was outgoing and pumped up. It was hilarious.

My outfit was a lot simpler. I ordered gray men’s coveralls and rolled up the arms and legs because I’m a shorty. Added a white shirt and spray painted the largest dollar store toy gun I could find. My hair is close to Ripley’s when it’s curly so I didn’t have to do anything and just grabbed Rony’s Chestburster plush.

Ta da, Alien costumes!

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Ramen haired Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears; matching jean outfit era

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Dr. Poison from Wonder Woman

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Raven

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Don’t know but she looks awesome!

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Ned Zissou from Life Aquatic

We had a ton of fun like always. I didn’t take many pictures because, you know, drunk people and it was getting crowded. There was a Batgirl and Steven Universe and Calvin and Hobbs plus your usual ghost. Rony tried to do apple bobbing with his outfit, but his head proved troublesome.

I actually didn’t drink. Just wasn’t feeling it but that may be why I felt like going to bed at like 1am. Maybe I’m just getting old but I can rarely stay up super late anymore.

This Summerween was probably our last one if we stay on track to move in May. Little things like these are things we’re gonna miss but it was great to go out with a bang at least.

Have you ever celebrated Summerween?

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-Sam <3

#OOTD| Double Trouble

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#1. Daytime Ghoul

As you may already know, I’m obsessed with Halloween and horror and all matter of spooky stuff. Our entire dining room is basically a dragon’s hoard of Halloween items (I swear I’ll do a house tour one day). It’s the biggest thing me and Rony have in common.

So when I see cute Halloween themed clothes, I jump on it. And man did I hit the jackpot.

Cowcow is “an online platform for designers and creative artists to showcase and sell their artwork on t-shirts, gifts, umbrellas…” etcetera etcetera. It’s like Society6 and all those other sites that let artists upload designs and they get a percentage of the profits. I actually found it through Amazon because that’s how I buy everything.

Link here. I promise this isn’t sponsored. I wish. But hey go check out cool stuff.

All of the designs on this dress are Halloween themed. All of them. Yeah, I went crazy. I wanted to get all of them. And they weren’t that expensive so that made me go crazy more.

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I picked my favorite and I let Rony choose one too because I couldn’t decide. The cat design is adorable. Moons and cats and bats are all things I love and the color was super cute.

I got a Medium in both but I probably should have gotten a Large to avoid the dressed boob stretch problem. It is a very stretchy fabric like a lot of skater dresses but the designs are nicely printed and don’t fade with the stretch too much. I avoid skater dresses a lot because of that reason.

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The cat and bat dress I decided I would make casual and fun. It’s playful and matched my favorite vest and hair nicely. I wanted to show that you can dress these up in a cute fun way or in a more subdued, “fancy way. So I threw on my favorite boots (similar) and found some spooky jewelry like my bird skull earrings (similar) and Amethyst crystal necklace (Exact).

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This vest is the first vest I ever made. It’s very Sailor Moon/girl power inspired and I wore it to the first Ladies Night we ever held. I’ve lost a lot of buttons here and there but it’s my favorite. I made it out of a size too large Forever 21 jacket and attempted to dye it black only for it to come out purple. I wasn’t mad about it and splattered pink and blue paint on it.

I did each stud my hand and painted with fabric paint the patches on the back. It took forever but I love it.

Overall the outfit was comfy and perfect for adventuring. I’m just in love with the pattern and paired with the vest, I feel cool and like I can take on anything. It’s not heavy and flows really nice and for $12, it’s a steal.

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#2. Witch of the Woods

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The second dress is the one Rony picked out.

Fun fact: to shoot these pictures we went looking for houses that were for rent. We figured they wouldn’t mind. And we found a lot of cool houses.

I definitely went for a witchy vibe with this one. The first one was bubblegum and this one was all Grimm Fairytales. I couldn’t find my newer black cardigan (similar) and this one ended up getting a small hole in the arm, but it all went together nicely. I paired it with my nice Anna Sally Wedge Ankle Booties (Exact) and let my crazy curly hair down.

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Also it was crazy hot for 8:30 at night and the wind was blowing like crazy but everything came out nicely.

For those following along with my hair journey, it’s been a week of no straightening and I’ve bought so many new products and done so many new techniques it’s crazy. Today I get to start giving up shampoo because apparently that helps. But the curls are getting better as long as I don’t forget to put my hair up at night.

Because then I look like Medusa again.

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And for those keeping up with me having shaved my eyebrows for Sombra, they’re growing back in. No one panic. The purple hair has faded SO much though and I’m a little sad, but I think I may just transition it to lavender for a bit and then back to blue. At least I don’t have to worry about color remover.

The pattern for this dress is still playful but I think dressing it up makes it more adult? Chic? I’m not sure the word. But I definitely look intimidating again, especially with my black Colourpop lipstick. Rony had to keep reminding me to smile because I suffer from permanent resting bitch face.

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I love finding little things that make me happy like these dresses. I think they match my personality well and I am ALWAYS down for more Halloween themed clothes. For me, they’re good year round but if you’re looking for some dresses further down the line in Fall I think you should check these out.

And if you aren’t down with the Halloween theme, they have plenty of other designs too!

 

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Next post will be about Summerween, I promise.

What holiday is your favorite and are there any holiday themed clothes you wish you could wear year round?

-Sam <3

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Blog| Fur Babies

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I was going to do a weekend recap but that’ll probably wait until tomorrow since I still have to edit pictures. So instead, I’m going to tell you all about mine and Rony’s fur babies. It’s gonna be long.

We have five animals. Yeah, you read that right. Five. Three cats and two dogs. Plus we dog sit so you can imagine the craziness at our house. But I love it. They drive me nuts and tear up my shoes and clothes and meow and bite at my ankles when I don’t feed them fast enough, but they also wait for me at the door, will cover me with snuggles, and give me kisses whenever I want.

I’m a huge animal lover and have always lived with animals. When I moved out at 19-20ish, I couldn’t bring my family dog and baby, Max, with me. It was very hard and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to survive without an animal. So when I moved out, I got my first cat Artemis from my aunt. She was crazy and wild and if I’m honest, a little feral.

And theeeeeeen she needed a friend while I was gone all day. So I searched all over town and officially adopted from a shelter for the first time. I found Ryder.


Ryder

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Ryder is our oldest animal. He’s also our most tolerant, patient, and chill animal. When we aren’t sure how dogs react to cats, we bring him out and have him on the table. He lets them sniff and shove their noses into his fur and the most he’ll do if annoyed is gently boop them.

I found him a week before Valentine’s Day. Artemis was a white and brown cat and I was dead set on having a black one, one because I’m a goth baby and two, I thought they’d compliment each other.

Me and a friend had gone to three different places and could not find a black cat. I was annoyed. There had been a ton just a week before and now they were all gone, which was good for them but I wanted a black cat. We went to one last place. He was in the window in Petsmart where the shelter puts the cats up for adoption and one of only two cats left. They had just dropped him off. He was kinda big for an 8 week old but the other cat was like 8 years old and orange.

Another couple was also there looking at cats and I did an internal dance when they went straight to the orange cat. Ryder was originally named Haku from Spirited Away (it was meant to be) and had a slight sneeze. He didn’t mind us picking him up and purred when I petted him. I picked him up and didn’t want to let go.

Turns out he had asthma and allergy problems, probably from being at the shelter. I left college early one day because he was wheezing so badly I thought he was going to die. The vet game him some medicine and I had to spray children’s nasal spray up his nose for a couple of weeks. I named him Ezio at first (Assassin’s Creed nerd) and then thought Ryder suited him better.

Artemis and him got along and then he got along with Marisa’s cat Loki when she got him. Nothing phased him then and even more now.

Ryder is a Bombay so he looks like a black panther. His breed also has weight issues so he’s our fat cat. He sleeps a lot and mostly doesn’t cause trouble, but will occasionally appear to try and steal your Doritos and chicken wings. They’re his favorite. I think he got a little stressed when we went to Seattle because ever since them, he follows us around and will meow demand belly rubs.

He’s gone through a lot of friends. Artemis had to be given away because she started getting aggressive and stressed out all the time. It’s the only time I’ve had to give up an animal ever. When Marisa and I lived together we fostered a six toed cat named Digit or D for short. We then got Darcy, another black cat, but when I moved out she stayed with Marisa since Loki was attached.

Luckily, he hasn’t been alone since.


Pumpkaboo

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Pumpkaboo is Rony’s cat. He is technically allergic but that didn’t stop him.

Our friend Adam apparently found her on November 1st in a bush, I believe, and sent him a picture. She was a tiny kitten with an attitude and he immediately wanted her. She was a little Halloween cat and so he named her Pumpkaboo after the Pokemon.

Pumpkaboo was only about a year or so when I met her so she’s our second oldest. She did not like anyone else but Rony. When I would walk around his house, she would hide around corners and swipe at my legs when I would go by. I would have to pick my feet off the floor and lay on the bed or she would attack.

Rony moved in with Adam and his cat and three dogs. Pumpkaboo would go out and explore, but we started to realize Adam’s cat and her were not getting along. Omen would fight her a lot and it got to the point Pumpkaboo would literally poop out of fear.

So she came and lived with me. At first she would come back and forth, but eventually she just stayed. She got along with Loki and Ryder and finally warmed up to me. It was safer after too many close calls with cars and she wasn’t as stressed. She’s lived with me ever since.

Pumpkaboo is an odd cat. She finally learned to like people and is now super affectionate, but we like to call her our Diva cat. She is the boss. She will pick on the dogs, put herself in their way and block doors, smack and bite us until we feed her, and constantly tries to sneak out. She does what she wants. But she’s also the first to go up to people for pets and treats, will stand up and grab your hand, and lays on you any time you sit or nap. She’s a good cuddler.

Rony is her favorite. She talks to him all the time. When he walks around, she sometimes sits on his shoulders. She steals rubber bands and strings and will play fetch, dropping them near by and meowing at you constantly until you throw them. All food and drink cups are her’s and she will not hesitate to just start drinking straight out of them.

She’s definitely the animal with the most personality.


Demo (Demophon)

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I always seem to end up with one kind of skittish animal. While I lived with Marisa, Darcy would run and hide. Then I got Demo and he eventually turned the same way.

I got Demo the first day I moved out back on my own. I followed a Lubbock Lost and Found group and a lady said she saw a kitten get run over by a car. He was okay but needed help and treatment and she couldn’t keep him because her other cats were being bullies. So I messaged her and on May 1st, went to go pick him up with Rony.

The lady said she was behind the car when Demo was hit and thought he was dead. She stopped and scooped him up and luckily he was alive, but looked out of it. She took him to the vet and after a night, he seemed okay and didn’t have any brain damage. His front right arm was paralyzed and had road rash but he had perked up and was extremely vocal.

We got him and took him to my new empty apartment and the first thing he did was climb into the motor of my refrigerator and try to kill himself. Yep. So he got to stay in the bathroom while everything was moved in and kitten proofed.

Not well enough though because then he managed to climb into my recliner and get stuck in the springs. After my cardboard blocking it off, he finally stopped getting stuck everywhere. That first day he meowed constantly and would only calm down if I held him. Ryder and Pumpkaboo weren’t thrilled but mostly ignored him. He was very attached to Ryder who didn’t particularly care for him.

We named him Demo after Demophon of Eleusis in Greek Mythology. And because I thought Demo was a funny name after a few close calls. We took him to the vet and got him de-wormed and fixed up. His arm was permanently dead but he had drawn it up into his chest so it wasn’t dragging and therefore, didn’t need to be amputated. Eventually I think we will do it just to make sure it doesn’t get infected since he can’t clean it properly.

He got around just fine but was super attached to me. Somehow eventually, that turned into hiding if anyone but me was around. It took a year before he would come out for Rony, but it’s still a thing. We’re the only people that ever see him in person.

Demo is a night owl. He pops up at night to cuddle and is still very vocal. He also acts like I am dying every time I go to the bathroom. He will mysteriously appear and yell at me for the entire duration I am in the bathroom, grabbing my hand and rubbing against my legs. It’s a strange quirk and has made sneaking to the bathroom much harder. He will find me every time.

He doesn’t care about treats or toys much, but loves to play fight with Pumpkaboo and is the friendliest towards the dogs. As long as they don’t lick his face or try to clean him too much.


Almond Joy

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Almond is our baby and an accident. Kinda. My aunt passed away a few years ago and was a big animal lover. She had a couple of dogs, an old pit/Shar Pei named Peanut and a blue Pitbull named Bella, and my grandma took them in afterwards along with my cousin’s Dalmation, Otto. Well accidents happened and Bella and Otto ended up with puppies. Most of them got adopted but they kept two. Unfortunately, Bella ran away or may have gotten stolen.

Well another accident happened. One of the blue-pit/Dalmatian puppies ended up with Peanut. No one thought Peanut could even get pregnant because she was over 10 years old but lo and behold, puppies happened. But most of them ended up passing away and only two were left. They were Ginger and Almond.

We didn’t want to give the puppies away because they were Peanuts puppies and we wanted to keep them in the family. So my dad took Ginger. There was no one else for the other puppy so…I took it. Me and my small apartment with three cats. But I couldn’t let her go and was planning on getting a house once my lease was up in like 10 months so I thought it’d be okay.

We named her Almond and tried to convince my brother to name the other puppy Hazelnut, but they rebelled and named her Ginger. We wanted them all to be nuts but whatever. She got named Almond Joy as her full name.

Almond was the bully of the two puppies. She would shove Ginger off the bed and was always rough housing. Dad chose first and thought Ginger was the calmer of the two but I was okay with it because Almond was black and white and I was building a black animal army. We took her to the apartment a few times because she fully lived with me and then attempted to make her a playpen out of grid. She was NOT happy.

She then proceeded to headbutt and climb the pen and knock it over. She didn’t want out of it, she just didn’t want it there period. It’s a thing with her. She hated her kennel and would bark and cry so loud. If we put a baby gate up, she would attempt to climb it or cry and do this earsplitting bark she developed to get our attention.

Almond was a very energetic puppy. She ran around constantly at top speed and destroyed the carpet and shoes and socks and underwear. She destroyed plush toys in seconds. There were days when she was so hard to handle sometimes I cried, but it wasn’t her fault. She was part dalmatian and stuck in a tiny apartment with no yard.

She got along wonderfully with other dogs though. Almond LOVES other animals and always wants to say hi. She loves to snuggle and would sleep in between Rony and us under the blankets. When she gets tired of walking around while we’re out and about, she throws herself on the ground until Rony picks her up. She hates water but loves to lay in the grass and just watch everything. As she’s gotten older (and gotten a big yard), she’s chilled out a lot. Still chews up things and very stubborn, but there are less days when she’s getting in trouble.

We got a new bed and she was never more excited than when she realized she could crawl under it. It’s her new favorite spot. She still sees her sister every now and then. Ginger is a chubby, spoiled butt who is now the more hyper of the two. She’s my dad’s little baby since Max passed away. But they’re still very much alike.

Almond will turn 2 years old in October and she’s a small horse. Tall and sleek and fast as a cheetah, she loves to do laps in the yard. We’re constantly complimented on how she looks. So far we haven’t met another dog that looks just like her but then again, Pit/Shar-Pei/Dalmatian is a weird mix.

She does really good with the dog sitting and has adjusted to all the different animals coming and going. But every now and then we’d notice she would just get depressed when all the animals were gone. I bugged Rony about getting a puppy. I wanted one young enough to get along with the animals but also to learn how to get along with Almond. She’s very dominant and I didn’t want to risk any fights.

I followed a bunch of rescues and shelters online. And then, a week before my birthday, we found Leon.


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Okay, technically we met A Leon in December. I had found another dog, a German Shepherd mix, online and fell in love. Unfortunately, the shelter would never get back to me. I tried a bunch but we had to let that Leon go (we actually got to talk with them later and it turns out that Leon needs a lot of work and wouldn’t be good with other dogs so it all worked out.)

Rony wasn’t really down with getting a puppy. We were playing with the idea of moving and he thought it would be better to get one after we moved. But I obsess once I get ideas and could’t leave the idea alone. I would show him photos and he would shrug. Finally I showed him a picture of a litter of puppies that would be at an Adoption Day for a rescue. He finally relented that we could go to some adoption events to check them out.

Being me, I had already bought new beds for the dogs and toys and everything (very cheaply!) I tried not to think that we’re getting a puppy, just checking things out, but I wanted one so bad. We went to the adoption event and instantly found the puppies. They were white and brown and some were black and white and brown. They were adorable and knew one was coming home with us. And so did Rony.

Rony got to pick to help win him over and picked a brown and white puppy with black speckles all over his nose. He melted and I knew I had won him over. We filled out all the paper work and paid the adoption fee. We snuck him into Target and got him puppy food and a little Lion toy. We bounced around a names and kept coming back to Leon. Yeah, we stole another dog’s name but he looked much more like a Leon than the other one! (We were going to name that one Regis if we had adopted him).

On the way home, Rony got a pretzel and suddenly the puppy turned into a little beast. He kept going after it, trying to steal it away. Him and his siblings were found abandoned under a house for a few days so I figured this was leftover from that, but he’s still a food fiend. To distract him, I made little howling noises. Leon stopped and looked at us. We kept doing it and finally, he did it with us. His voice cracked but he tried so hard to howl. It was the cutest thing ever.

Almond met him outside and could care less. He was 8 weeks old and a tiny little nugget. She was interested but knew she couldn’t really play with him. When we took them outside, he would stumble after her. She kept trying to give him toys that were bigger than him and attempt tug of war but would almost fling him. He played with the cats toys since they were his size and snuggled with us in bed. A few days later, he cried so much while we were at work he lost his voice.

Eventually, both of them got along perfectly. They would play fight and share toys (which Almond never did before) and roll around in the yard. Almond liked to push him over constantly, much to our annoyance. He was also scared of a lot of things. Random inanimate objects scared him. He would bark and bark and bark until we showed him it was nothing. One time he saw an empty black plastic pot in the yard and started barking at it. Almond grabbed it and started chasing him with it. It got ripped apart pretty quickly.

Leon is a food monster. He has a puzzle feeder or else he eats too fast and will steal your food if you don’t watch him. He will shower you in kisses and hug and snuggle in your arms. He learns commands quickly but is quiet. He’ll sit by the backdoor to go potty quietly until you notice him and then he’ll ring the bell. He can’t learn shake because instead of pawing at your hand, he’ll just sit and wait. Almond is loud and demanding but he is very submissive.

He’s still getting use to meeting people and new animals and going to new places. Leon loves meeting new people and will wag his tail so much his whole butt wiggles, but he gets overwhelmed easily. But he loves to give kisses to every animal and person.


All our animals are crazy and unique and we could talk about them constantly. They’re our little family and it’s weird to think of a time before we had them all. It’s never boring with them around and I like it that way. Moving them to Seattle is going to be an adventure but it’ll be good for us all. I’d love to take the dogs to more places that will allow them and to the ocean to play.

This was a long one but I hope you enjoyed it! Tell me all about your animals! I love hearing fur baby stories :)

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-Sam <3

Blog| I Went to a Women Only Wonder Woman Showing

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There’s been a lot of noise about Alamo Drafthouse’s Women Only screening of Wonder Woman. It’s the same noise I’ve seen around comic book shop’s Ladies Night (we even got some of that noise when we started ours.) Men yell about why they don’t get a Men’s Only showing of _____ and _____, not realizing that most of the media is catered towards men and they don’t have to fight for representation like women do.

I deal with a lot of it. It’s old news for me. Creating women centered content means I hear and see a lot of the same argument and it’s tiring and boring.

You can’t yell equal treatment when the minority is still struggling to be on par. You raise them up and yes, that means sometimes “special treatment” until they no longer need the help and are in fact equal.

But that’s another rant for another time.

 

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When I saw our local Alamo was doing a Women’s Only screening, I immediately bought tickets. This was before the movie even came out. I was so excited. It’s a rare occurrence for their to be a women focused event that I’m NOT involved in and I was going to be there no matter what.

Men started complaining, of course, but I didn’t care. We were seeing the movie June 1st, doing our Art of Wonder Woman gallery June 2nd, and Wonder Woman Day was happening June 3rd. Everything was Wonder Woman.

I dressed up, met my friends at the theater, splurged on a ton of food, and then cried through the whole movie.

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I cried when you see the Amazons for the first time. The diversity! So many women of color and different body shapes and Robin Wright and baby Diana and my heart burst. The world of Themyscira was amazing and colorful and beautiful and dear god can we get a whole movie just showing life there? Please?!

I laughed and cried some more and sobbed when Diana crossed No Man’s Land. The only thing I could think was “That’s Wonder Woman. That’s her and she’s amazing and everything I could have hoped for.”

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I loved the movie. It wasn’t perfect but it set the bar high for me. I felt inspired and amazing and confident and empowered. This was a movie about Diana, about her coming into her own, not just about her defeating a bad guy. It’s her story rather than a story about defeating evil.

She’s a woman that is confident in her sexuality and love and hope for mankind and strength. She’s amazed at her own abilities but doesn’t doubt herself. She sees wrong and cannot just stand by even when everyone tells her it cannot be done. She is kind and never talks down the people around her even when she knows she stronger than them.

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Yesterday, was the Women’s Only showing of Wonder Woman. I had been itching to watch the movie again, but this was the best way to see it. I noticed a couple days before though, that the listing wasn’t on the website anymore.

I panicked. They better not have canceled it.

I checked again. Nothing. I called. It was still happening but was sold out.

Alamo had taken the listing off the website. We showed up and they had our tickets in an envelope behind the counter. Sneaky. My best bet was this was to avoid people showing up and making a ruckus. If it’s not listed anywhere and not advertised, they don’t know where to go and what time.

In the lobby, they had a Rosie the Riveter style backdrop up, a Wonder Woman cosplayer who was perfect, and a tiara, bracelet, lasso set for people to take pictures with. At the showing door, some staff stood outside, most likely to make sure guys didn’t enter.

They had Wonder Woman slap bracelets on every seat. They were so nice and sparkly! We tried to find more after the showing, but they said they didn’t have extras. Oh well. The staff was all women. A host from Texas Tech that does their Sexism in Cinema series came out before hand and talked about Wonder Woman and the history it was making. Me and my friend Alex that came with me pigged out on ALL the food. It was a glorious night.

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Sorry for the grainy phone pic.

It’s amazing what happens when you get a ton of women together. They let loose and relax. A lot of them laugh and ooh and cheer at the same moments, more so than at a regular screening. Subtle looks Diana would give at being talked over or being called just “a woman” rather than her name erupted in jeers. There were laughs and tears I could hear the theater go silent during No Man’s Land at the sheer glory of it.

The whole thing was amazing. Afterwards, women chatted with each other and told each other their opinions and what they were excited about. Everyone seemed so pumped! A group of women made a pyramid to take a picture, fully in tiara and sword. We all cheered them on. We ran into a friend and stole the tiara to take pictures then ran into the photobooth to take more pictures. We talked to a couple of girls who were sitting a few seats away.

I can’t even begin describing the feeling. I didn’t feel shy or nervous talking to these random strangers and cheering girls on we didn’t know. We were all riding the feeling of the night and the comradery of having seen a movie made for us, about us, with our point of view.

Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie, but it’s a start. Women have waited so long for a hero that doesn’t come from sexual violence or tragedy, but one made in hope and love who just wants a better world. I’m excited to see what happens in the future and excited for more Wonder Woman.

We’re just getting started.

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-Sam <3

#WCW| Amanda

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Me and my sister Amanda didn’t always get along. She was outgoing and had a bunch of friends and was pretty and I was the quiet, weird little bookworm sister. In the way younger siblings can be, I was embarrassing and “not cool” and so she didn’t want to hang out with me.

That was fine. I had Marisa and kept to myself. I read to pass the time and vacated the room when her friends came over. But we were a lot alike. We both liked art and books. I remember she would collect these porcelain jester dolls from the crane machine game and every time we passed one I would try and win one for her (even though I thought they were really creepy.) I actually got her quite a few.

My dad would draw us our own coloring books and liked to do the same few drawings. Unicorn head, big wheel buggy, and Winnie the Pooh. (He still does them.) We would color them in and he would print copies of them at work so we could have our own book.

My uncle would watch us sometimes after school and we would watch Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, and wrestling. Amanda liked Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven, but would watch the cartoons too. Our whole family loved to play video games and we would race our dad in Gran Turismo and fight in Tekken.

We fought and tattled and she would be in charge of watching me, only to go watch TV or hang out with her friends.

Then things got worse when our parents divorced.

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We both dealt with our parents divorcing and having to move to Dallas differently. I withdrew and she acted out. Being a preteen and dealing with everything is hard. She started dating boys and would argue and I stayed out the way.

In my mind, she was always causing trouble. In reality, we were both just dealing with a hard situation and didn’t know how to cope or feel.

When she was 16, my sister got pregnant. It was a rough time. We ended up moving back to Lubbock and stayed with my dad, going back and forth between our parents. She grew up fast. You have to in that situation.

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On November 12th, Amanda had my nephew Aidan. She was young but figured out motherhood quickly. She went back to live in Dallas with my mom and Aidan’s dad’s family. When she turned 18, they got married and he joined the military.

After a bit they moved around, going military base to base. She actually lived in Tacoma, Washington at one point and my grandma went and stayed with her to help with Aidan. Amanda would make join Myspace and Facebook so we could chat and we would share things that way.

Distance was the key to us getting along. We both have different but same personalities and sometimes they butt heads. I use to joke that sometimes I acted like the older sister. I was the cool headed sister and she was all fire.

A few years later, Amanda moved back to Texas. A bit after that, she got divorced.

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We would talk about her going to school or finding a new job. She had loved photography and art in school but didn’t think that was feasible as a single mom.

We talked more. Amanda was learning to be more independent and figure everything out. It’s crazy to think of all she had to deal with and she was only a few years older than me.

In 2010 she met Kaleb. They had known each other in school, but reconnected. He was nice and didn’t try to bribe me into liking him with Yugioh cards so that was a plus. He was sweet to her and Aidan and she was so much happier. He would take her fishing and they liked Walking Dead and video games. He could take a joke which is a must in our family because we all pretty much just bully each other.

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2012 Amanda got engaged and got pregnant with my niece Tabitha, Tabby for short.

Amanda got to start working from home and was able to stay home with Tabby. We texted and chatted online and I would download movies for her to watch when I would see her. One time I stayed with her for a week and we did nothing much lay on the couch in our pajamas, watch Game of Thrones, drink, and attempt to make fried Oreos.

We ate a lot of junk food.

She would borrow my makeup and clothes when I would visit and when she came down, would make fun of my apartment and cats. Kaleb always found me cat stuff because I was apparently turning into the crazy cat lady.

When I started doing vlogs, Amanda would watch almost every one and text me about them. She didn’t think it was weird and would read my blogs and we would tweet about things online. She was like an internet friend that shared the same parents and stole my stuff when I would see her.

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If I can say one thing, it’s that Amanda is a good mom. She was figuring it out as she went along, but she knew how to deal with a growing boy who was much shyer and sweeter than other kids and a little girl with enough personality to fill a room. Things would get crazy and she has a quick temper like me, but she would find a way to make everything work.

Aidan got older and was catching up on our height. Tabby finally started growing hair. Amanda and Kaleb got married in 2014. Me and Marisa and our younger sister Elizabeth were bridesmaids.

In 2015, Amanda got a camera. She had always loved photography and wanted to pick it back up again. It was the one thing she had always been super passionate about. She wanted to do pictures on the side, maybe once she got good enough she could make a little money. Simple. I was starting Ladies Night and offered to pay her $100 so she could drive down and shoot the event. She could launch her Facebook page and it’ll be a little exposure.

Amanda was our very first photographer for Ladies Night. And if you look at her pictures from then to now, it’s breathtaking how much she has grown. I’m my sister’s biggest fan. Her work is gorgeous and I’m not even that into maternity and bridal pictures. But they’re something else.

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Ladies Night 2015

The difference in those pictures is barely over a year. One year! But the best part is, her starting a photography business made my sister absolutely bloom into a whole new person. I remember that she was worried for the first Ladies Night because she wasn’t sure how her pictures would turn out. She was scared to try. And now I’ve seen her navigate photo shoots and pregnant moms and nervous couples like it’s nothing. She’s not afraid to tell someone what looks good and doesn’t and work with clients.

Better yet, she has a confidence in herself that I haven’t seen since she was a bold, stubborn teenager. We talk more now. We talk about our problems and how to deal with situations and websites and social media and being a small business. We talk ideas and photoshoot ideas and getting her clients when she comes and visits and she’ll share my art and events. We talk about our body image and health issues and anxiety and love lives and moving to Seattle.

It took almost 20 years, but I finally have a relationship with my sister and she is my best friend. She’s ambitious and artsy and goal orientated and we tell each other things honestly without the sugar coating. When our parents are driving us crazy or we get weird ideas or need outfit ideas, we text each other. And I’m so grateful for that.

The older we’ve gotten, the closer we’ve become.

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My sister is one of my closest friends. We help and support each other and even when we don’t always agree, we have one another’s back. I’ve gotten to see her grow from a scared teenager into this amazing mom and from novice photographer to someone whose work takes your breath away. Her pictures are what dreams are made of and people can see that now.

I know of a lot of the plans she has in store and I’m excited. If I could take her to Seattle with me, I would, but we’re not far from each other. We’re always a text and a message and a Facebook comment away.

I’m so proud of her and so proud of how far she has come.

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Amanda will be in Lubbock July 28th- August 5th if you would like to message her to schedule a session! She will also be the photographer for July 29th’s Ladies Night! All photos were taken by her.

If you want to follow Amanda’s work:

-Sam <3