Tag Archives: bouquet

Oddly Lovely.

I love Cat from Oddly Lovely and I won’t pretend part of the reason is totally self serving because she lives in in the Bay Area (aka San Francisco and other areas around the bay…You get it? The City by the Bay?). I left a huge part of my heart in San Francisco and reading Cat’s words, seeing her home, or enjoying her creations through the screen make me less homesick for that place. But enough of about me because I have too much to say about Cat. She’s lovely (oddly or not).Nine_Headshot 1She believes in the oxford comma (preach, sister. Writing at a job in the AP style hurts me sometimes), she’s an introvert, and her dog is her best friend. Better yet, she breaks down first, second, and third wave feminism in a blog post asking the question: Can feminist’s wear make-up? Listen, if you’ve heard the word feminist and want to know more or you don’t know what I am referring to when I mention first, second, and third wave feminism, don’t feel bad! Just read this post. It’s worth understanding especially because it’s a word that has a huge connotation with it, depending on the people you are with, political parties, and what day of the week it is. I can’t recommend this post highly enough because she breaks it down.

I want to read posts from smart, thoughtful women like CatNina_HomeHer post about writing and posting controversial pieces really struck a chord with me. What she says is so true: posting those pieces is hard. It’s not fun. I have to almost force myself on the occasion that I have. I don’t agree with Cat on everything but that’s also why I read her blog. I think it’s incredibly important to not only read posts on subjects I may have a different opinion on but to have friends and conversations in that same vein. It’s really easy to be insular and just hang out with people just like you. You won’t ever change or grow because your beliefs won’t ever be challenged. And I don’t want that for me. Neither does Cat.

I love what she says here because it’s something I have recently realized: “Even though I can be sensitive to negative blowback (okay, VERY sensitive to negative blowback), I am working on having a thicker skin and being brave and speaking up for what I believe in. Because the blog posts that make people think – those are the ones that really matter.”

PREACH, GIRL.

(Also, how does one get thicker skin? We’re working on it. Right, Cat?)Nine_Headshot 2Don’t misunderstand. Her blog is a (oddly) lovely menagerie of her thoughts and opinions and her creations like this Lavender Whipped Body Butter Recipe.Nina_Body ButterShe’s also an incredible cook and if I could taste something through my computer screen I would, like this Kale, Kielbasa, White Bean Soup. Talk about comfort food.Nina_SoupAlso, how could the Italian in me not love this Tomato and Ricotta Focaccia Toast?Nina_Focaccia ToastAs if it is worth noting, don’t you love her oddly lovely style, from her photography to her clothes?

P.S. If you are missing Serial (me!), check out her post 12 Podcasts to Make Life More Interesting.

The longer I blog the more I realize that I need women bloggers like Cat who have similar interests but also challenge me. I am so happy to share her with you. Please check her out. You’ll fall in love, I promise. There is nothing odd about her or her blog–only loveliness.
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She is Fierce.

Right away, you know Kiersten is unafraid to be brave because she writes exactly what she thinks at She is Fierce, a fierce blog if I ever read one. Right away, she tells you that she is opinionated. I love this. Sometimes I find in this world of blogging that we are so afraid to be different, or to say what we really think for fear that we will be labeled as opinionated or strange or intense or even, let’s say fierce. Kiersten is not. She is a reminder to me and to you too: be authentic, be opinionated. Because if you have an opinion (and you should have opinions because otherwise…what goes on in your brain?) you are opinionated.k

Kiersten says the biggest things college taught her was to have an opinion (yes!) and that, “That without debate, we can never move forward or change as a society.” Kiersten is a girl who knows, “…without (debate) – without differing opinions and the sharing of those viewpoints – we would never move forward together.” It’s a struggle for her (and for me too!) to see the world moving in a direction like this: [she’s] seen more and more lately, this idea that opinions should be kept to oneself and we should all go through life imagining that we all agree on everything lest we should find that someone have an opinion differing from our own.”
 k1
 Kiersten is not suggesting we should all argue, far from it. Debating something can be healthy. In fact, I believe sometimes you can learn something. Kiersten writes: Without opinion, Rosa Parks would never have sat at the front of a bus.  Without debate, women would never have gained the right to vote.  Without difference of opinion, freedom of the press would not exist, and you and I would not be here writing every day.”
k2Kiersten says, “Your opinion matters” and I should yes from the rooftops. The thing is, Kiersten may have some opinions that are different from yours and also mine but listening to them is worth it. She doesn’t want kids. She talks about race on her blog, something I commend. Because I have been afraid to and that’s not like me at all. She wrestles with things. She does not have all the answers. She talks about why we still need feminism, how college campuses handle sexual assault (for the most part, and this is just me, very poorly). She believes in some things but there are other things she is figuring out. She breaks the blogging mold.
k3It’s not that I agree with everything Kiersten says or writes. I don’t think she wants me to, actually. It’s that she has created a space where she bravely writes what is on her mind and heart and opens up a dialogue and a conversations. I wish there were more conversations on blogs instead of: great post! I am guilty of this. Kiersten is entirely herself. Yes, she believe in debate but she is also soft (not weak) with compassion in love. Just read what she would tell her daughter if she ever has one.
Kiersten is fierce.

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Beautiful Inside and Out: Martha Kate Stainsby.

I am not a writer, she says, but then she writes, and I read because what she has to say is important. I am not perfect, she says. I am learning that perfection wrecks and grace saves, she says. And I read her words, eating them up because they warm me up like my nonna’s chicken soup. She thinks we all wear masks (she is right) and she takes hers off, willingly, to shed light on the hardest of things–like the eating disorder she struggled with for over 12 years (she’s been in recovery for three years).

The thing that sums Martha Kate Stainsby best is in her bio: I want to spend the rest of my life loving on people. MK3

She writes over at Leaving Perfection and Learning from Grace and I have to say, her posts often have me sitting back. Most recently she wrote a post called Why I Won’t Call You Skinny. It is a must read for everyone–any female, any mother, any sister, any father, any educator. It tells the story of affirmation Martha Kate received in the beginning of her eating disorder (she refers to it as ED) when a teacher complimented her and said, “You’re so skinny!”

Have you ever heard those words or said them?

I’ve heard them and said them.

That’s why you have to read this postMK+B4

She educates her readers on ED but the picture is so much bigger. Her theory is if that if only we all took off the masks we wore there, would be less hatred, competition, and addiction. She writes about scandalous grace. Yes, she says she is not a writer (not true). But that we all have a story, something that I believe, and some of my favorite bloggers also believe.

As hard as some stories are to hear, they need to be spoken or written.  They need to be read. Martha Kate tells the hard stories because she isn’t interested in the shallow–”grace is bigger and perfection kills dreams.”MK2

Martha Kate is beautiful inside and out. It has nothing to with how she looks. Her heart, her big heart, radiates out of everything she writes, every email, every post. I am so grateful to have found her blog. Please go check it out. Start with this post: “Why I Won’t Call You Skinny.”

XO,

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