What Is a Diva Cup and Why You Need One

By June 24, 2015 Products, Ramblings
Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Alright girls, grab a drink, gather round, and let’s talk Diva Cups. This is the time to ask every question you ever wanted to ask but were too nervous to ask. Don’t be shy, we’re all friends here.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Here’s Moose. If you start to feel faint, look at Moose.

My friend and blogging idea-bouncer-offer Rachel told me to password protect this post with “vaginal discharge,” because what guy would actually want to type that in? But I figured that was too much effort on my part. After all, this post doesn’t faze me one bit. It’s you I’m worried about.

Fellas, consider this your one and only warning. See the X in the top right corner of your screen? Click it now. Now. …now. If you choose to continue to read, I am not responsible for any vomiting, fainting, or ill feelings about me.

The Diva Cup got a bad rap in this HuffPo article a few weeks back. It was hilarious and got people talking about this weird product, but I disagreed with every word and wanted to write a post singing the praises of the Diva Cup.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

It’s like being vegan – you have to tell everyone about it

So here we go. Let me introduce you to the Diva Cup:

What is a Diva Cup? It’s a feminine product. Like a tampon. Or a pad. More like a tampon. But in a cup shape.

Should I use a Diva Cup? Do you have a period? Are you tired of looking like Carrie? Do you want to take a “set it and forget it” approach to the most-hated week of the month? Are you comfortable touching your business? Then yes, you should use a Diva Cup.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

You know you can relate

However. If you are squeamish, prudish, or a borderline hypochondriac, then this won’t be your cup of raspberry tea. You have to be cool with seeing your blood. And touching yourself. I think the correlation of Diva Cup users to masturbaters is probably pretty high. But honestly, if you’re a self-love virgin then I think you have some other life choices to work on before trying a Diva Cup.

Will my cup runneth over? Probably, if you don’t do it right. But it will take far longer (up to 12 hours) than it takes for your other feminine products to fail you, so you have ample time to get yourself to a restroom.

How do I use this contraption? I could describe it to you, but I don’t think I’d do it justice. I could tell you to follow the directions on the package, but I did and failed quite a few times. So just watch this video.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

And then come back and look at Koda

How gross is it really? Again, if you’re squeamish then this probably isn’t for you. There will be blood. But really, what girl hasn’t committed a crime scene or two in her post-puberty years? Plus, it’s your body doing its anti-baby thang, and you have to give it credit for that.

Can you feel the cup? Just like a tampon, if you insert it wrong then your vag will shout at you. But if done correctly, you totally forget it’s there. Which is wonderful. Like a non-period. Only it doesn’t eliminate the shank-a-bitch PMS emotions.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

See? It’s not that scary!

Can you have sex? Technically speaking, since the cup is up by your cervix and leaves your vaginal canal open, you can still eagerly participate in sexual escapades. Can you use a finger? Yes. A penis? Probably not comfortably. Unless you play “Just the Tip.”

Is it worth the cost? $40 for a fucking dixie cup that catches blood? Outrageous, you may say. But if you think about it, at $6 per box of tampons, the Diva Cup will pay for itself quickly.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

If you didn’t groan and laugh, you’re dead inside

Will Mother Earth love me more? Yes! So much yes. Think about how much cotton and plastic and junk you’ll dispose of throughout the span of your baby-making years. Whereas a Diva Cup is the gift that keeps on giving—er, getting.

Does it smell? One of the biggest complaints in this Reddit post (which is also hilarious, BTW) was that the cup smells. I have two things to say about this. One, have you ever kept a tampon in too long? Two, why the fuck are you smelling your cup anyway?

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

Sasha’s a total diva every day of her life

Don’t want to be a Diva? There are quite a few other brands out there that may fit your…shape better.

See now, that wasn’t that bad, was it? The Diva Cup has become mainstream in the backpacking and trail running communities, and now it’s time for all women to know how spectacular it is.

If you’re a male and you’re still reading, congrats. You asked for this.

Diva Cup, why to use a diva cup, menstrual cup,

But here are some cookies for you. You deserve cookies.

Confessions of a Dirty Runner

By June 23, 2015 Ramblings, Running
http://wp.me/p4dARa-1ws

Runners. We’re not the cleanest, prettiest, best-smelling flowers in the bunch. But we’re sure as hell the most fun!

We all have strange quirks that our fellow runners understand and embrace, but would never fly in the real world. Since we’re all friends here, let’s share some of them. I’ll start:

I sing out loud to my music when I run alone

I get satisfaction when the shower water runs black with dirt and mud and blood

dirty runner, running confessions

Why yes, I did splash in that puddle on purpose

I still wear sports bras I bought freshman year of college

I have no shame picking up food I dropped on the ground at an aid station and eating it—dirt is good for you

dirty runner, running confessions

I also eat berries I find on walks downtown

I have been known to blow snot rockets even when I’m not running

I don’t always shave my thighs if I’m in a hurry pre-run

dirty runner, running confessions

We decided that shaving is often overrated

I don’t mind the way that some runners smell, but others make me gag 

I wear my ultra shirts all.the.time. to feel like a badass, even though they hang to my knees

dirty runner, running confessions

My first 50k will always be one of my favorites!

I take pleasure in pulling spiderwebs from my eyelashes

I run to eat (but honestly, who doesn’t?)

dirty runner, running confessions

Who loves orange soda? Tanya loves orange soda!

Alright, your turn! What are some of your dirty runner confessions?

Suburbia Gets Lofty – 2015 Parade of Homes

By June 4, 2015 Birmingham
DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned working with B Metro Magazine for the 2015 Parade of Homes? Well, I came, I paraded, and I fell in love.

I headed to the Parade of Homes (organized by the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders) excited to immerse myself back in suburbia. And I did, kind of. After seeing a few of the homes, I noticed something interesting. I felt very comfortable, very stylish. Very…at home. These brand new, stunning houses shared a lot of similarities with my 1920s converted warehouse loft.

Gone were the white picket fences, the formal dining rooms, the identical bedrooms with 2.4 kids and a Golden Retriever running around. These houses were hip! As in, let me pack my bags and move out here, STAT. Look out world, Millenials are growing up and taking over the neighborhood!

I made mental notes of all the ways these houses were like my lofty loft. Here they are, as told roughly by song lyrics. Because doesn’t everyone need a song in their heart?

Brick house—I am a sucker for exposed brick, and will be heartbroken the day I have to leave my Birmingham-made brick walls. So imagine my delight when I saw that a major design element of some of the homes was brick! Brick bathrooms, brick accent walls, and did I mention brick bathrooms? Point – house.

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Why yes, I will write here! DR Horton Rockingham

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Hello brick accent wall! Signature Homes Freeman

Wide open spaces—Another thing I’ve grown to adore about my loft is the lack of walls. Literally. So again, I was pleased when I stepped into some of these homes and saw open floor plans. Living spaces flowed into kitchen spaces, which flowed outdoors. So much room for activities! Or, if you’re more of an introvert and don’t fancy large party spaces, so much less room to hide clutter!

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Does it get more lofty than a loft space overlooking the living room? Signature Homes Freeman

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Seamless transition from kitchen to my mouth… Wright Homes

And the green grass grows—One thing I miss about an actual house is having a yard with lush green grass. My three fur babies would agree. These homes had front yards, backyards, side yards to store your recycling and garbage cans (huge deal for me!). I refrained, but I really wanted to roll around on the front lawns and make grass angels.

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Front yards are meant for picnics and gymnastics! Wright Homes

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Is this a backyard or a resort? Wright Homes

Open door—Another thing that I hadn’t realized I miss is doors! I know you need walls to have doors, which contradicts my previous point, but still. These houses had an abundance of doors, specifically leading into master bedrooms and bathrooms. I feel like you’ve made it when you can say, “I am retiring to my master suite for the evening.”

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

Would you like some tea and crumpets in my Master sitting room? DR Horton Rockingham

DR Horton Rockingham, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, 2015 Parade of Homes, B Metro Magazine

This bathroom has DOORS! And BRICK! Signature Homes Freeman

So what am I really getting at? If you’re a twenty- (or thirty!) something like me and are debating between a bustling downtown life with a hip abode but no peace and quiet or a “dull” house in a quiet neighborhood, have no fear. New construction homes are not the boxy cookie-cutter things that we grew up in. These are gorgeous, modern, and sure to impress even your downtown-dwelling friends!

How to Take Epic Race Photos

By June 3, 2015 Running
national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Oh, it’s been a month since I ran Run for Kids and I still haven’t posted a race report? Let’s delay it a few more days. But since it’s National Running Day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about one of my favorite parts of running.

Race Photos. We runners anxiously wait for them in the days following the race, then rapidly click through them with one hand over our eyes because the photos suck so badly. How sad!

Race season is upon us, so now is the time to perfect your racing mug. Here are some dos and don’ts to make sure your next race photo is Facebook profile picture-worthy:

Do: Ham it up – Jump. Throw your hands in the air. Put on your biggest grin. You put in all that time and effort into training, now soak in every moment and show the world how excited you are to be running!

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Because what else would you do at mile 26?

Don’t: Close your eyes – You may be riding the struggle bus at the very moment the photog goes to snap a picture, but you don’t want that forever immortalized. Plus, you’re likely going to trip with your eyes closed, making you sport a bloody Jack-o-Lantern grin in your next race photo.

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Running with your eyes closed is just asking for trouble, Justin! Follow Coach Kelly’s lead.

Do: Make the photog your paparazzi – In a race with thousands of runners, how do you ensure that your photos will be the best? Zero in on course photographers, catch their eye (or lens), point to them, and shout “Over here!” You can also zigzag across the course to position yourself in front of the camera. Or, just have a bigger smile than everyone else around you.

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Photo. Bomb.

Don’t: Knock out another runner while trying to get a photo – Please keep all arms and legs inside your personal bubble at all times. I know I said to act a fool on the course and I am the first to raise the roof for a photo, but not at the expense of another runner’s safety.

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

One point for sibling love, one point for no accidental nosebleeds

Do: Watch your step – While striking a pose, make sure you’re still keeping an eye on your foot placement. Trust me – I know.

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

That awkward moment when your face doesn’t register pain just yet

Don’t: Stop your watch at the finish line – You trained for months to get across that finish line. Are you really going to ruin the moment by looking down at your data? No. Just, no.

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Follow Rachel’s lead and occupy your hands with your offspring

Do: Make your friends jealous – “You make it look so easy!” “You don’t even look tired!” Uh huh, that’s right. You should come run races, too!

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

“You ran for 12 hours and you can still jump?!”

Don’t: Fret bad photos – Race photos don’t lie, and you can look back at all the bad ones and remember how you persevered through a tough time. And laugh. That’s better than any fake grin!

national running day, race photos, how to take a good race photo, Birmingham track club

Not sure I can top this emotional wreck of a face

Let’s make a stand! Say no to bad race photos!

Death to Corpspeak

By May 20, 2015 Ramblings
corpspeak

Today I’m shaking things up and letting someone else take the reins of All In Stride.

Meet my friend Will. Will and I went to grad school at Alabama together and instantly clicked. We could not be any more different on the outside, but slice open our brains (please don’t actually do that) and you’ll find we’re identical.

corpspeak

Merry Christmas from Dick and Jane

You see, we’re that rare breed of human that will stay awake the entire night to perfect a paper, fly high on caffeine and bad jokes, then perform flawlessly in class. We’re unicorns. And if it sounds like I’m bragging, I sure as hell am! We earned that right!

Our main difference is that while I curse and see red when I’m angry and struggle to put rants into cohesive thoughts, Will is eloquent, constructs his arguments in a sweet, Southern way, then leaves you doubled over with laugher at his snark. Which is why this collaboration of genius is about to go down.

Take it away, Will!

The Corpspeak Epidemic

All throughout college, I heard professors talk about the phenomenon of “corpspeak.” For those of you who haven’t heard of this, you’ve already been exposed to it.

Corpspeak (korp•spēek)

noun

  1. The art of filling up pages and pontificating on points for extended periods of time, without saying anything conclusive or valuable
  2. At the end of the day, corpspeak is more or less a group of like-minded clichés with an MBA
  3. (See what I did there?)

Sound familiar?

In class we all laughed at this image:  Boardrooms, cubicles, and yes, even super-trendy open-floorplan offices, full of people saying it all without saying a thing. Then something happened.

I got “looped in” to my first email at my first job. Then I began “following up” and “reaching out” to people…which eventually led to meetings about “identifying the right stakeholders.”

Corpspeak

Try again, this time in English

At that point I realized that I, of all people, had become fluent in corpspeak.

It wasn’t a deliberate choice. Looking back, it was more of a natural progression. One of those weird nuances that accompanies getting older that you can’t explain and don’t detect until it’s too late. Right in line with beginning to like grilled onions, ordering everything on your pizza and obsessively scrolling through the “documentary” section on Netflix, corpspeak – gradually and methodically – commandeered my vocabulary like a thief in the night.

So when I realized what had happened, I got curious as to why people even started doing this in the first place. A recent feature story from the New Yorker best encapsulated this for me. It explains how TED talks have allowed ideas to become a standalone industry. And with that comes the need for companies and individuals to differentiate themselves when they’re talking about already abstract items, which has raised the stakes in describing not only big ideas, but also daily tasks. The verbal gymnastics have since trickled down from the top-tier thought leadership conferences to the watercooler, where everyone is trying to stand out by describing what they do or what they think with more flair. (We all were warned about this years ago and should have seen it coming…)

Why say “we’re finishing the assignment now to send to the client” when you can “wrap it up and put a bow on it”?! And why bother proposing that you put off a topic until the next meeting when you can “park it in the parking lot”?! What imagery!

corpspeak

The man, the computer-counter, the legend – Dr. Phelps, our favorite Comm Theory professor

A recent article by Inc. specifically caught my attention, explaining how a recent study conducted by TalentSmart revealed that many people have lost sight of how their words affect other people and how there is a dearth of social awareness among the masses. Speaking specifically to corpspeak, they sum up the issue nicely.

Given all of this, it led me to reflect on the terms that I despise the most, and unfortunately have used on a routine basis. I felt my career as a communicator depended on it.

So a few weeks ago I began cutting out all of the corpspeak from my vocabulary at work whenever the opportunity presented itself.

No gum. No support group. Just me getting back to bas-…I’m still not completely cured, but I’m making progress.

In the short time that I have made a conscious effort to cut out the flair, I have found myself to be more productive, and my teams operate with much less confusion. I’m hoping this continues to catch on, and that I can replace corpspeak with normspeak–using normal words and not trying to win a sixth grade creative writing competition with every interaction.

corpspeak

“You underestimate the power of the dark side”

To start my recovery I used a little word association exercise. I took the corpspeak phrases that I heard the most, used the most and despised the most, and made a list. For each word or phrase I paired it with my first thought. This turned out to be pretty entertaining, and truly brought out the ridiculousness of each term. I present to you in no particular order my list of phrases that kill me inside:

Looping inI’m not a bull

Let’s discuss the next steps—Such as slideeee to the left, slideeee to the right. CRISS CROSS.

Get on the same page—Friends, I don’t even want to be in the same book

Deep dive—I won’t be holding my breath

Touch base—Runner is OUT

Let’s park this item—Good, easier for me to hit it with my car

I’m going to push back on this one—At Alabama, we call that “run blocking”

I’ve got a hard stop at 2 p.m.—So you’re that important, eh?

There are lots of moving parts—You’re no engineer, stop it

Let’s put this to bed—”You wanna go night night?” – Kevin Hart

Let’s look at the big picture—*checks phone for movie times coinciding with lunch break*

This needs to be repeatable and measurable—Like whiskey shots

We need to be strategic about this—So this means we need at least four more meetings about the same thing

Let’s take this offline—*AIM door open sound* A/S/L please?

Let’s push this over the goal line—Not up in here! #RTR

We need to drill down—Doesn’t that cause earthquakes?

I’m going to reach out—”I’ll never let go, Jack”

This is bleeding edge technology—I know we said you were a sharp person, but geez…

It shouldn’t be a heavy lift—Good, wearing this back brace is uncomfortable in my ergonomic chair

At the end of the day, it is what it is—…which is…?

I’m still working on it, but I can already tell an improvement. So for each of you struggling with this in your own workplace, I hope that you can find solace in knowing you are not alone. And I hope that you can adopt a few of my own word associations to help you get the ball rolling on the road to recovery.

corpspeak

Three cheers for my #APRFamily! Thanks for the words, Will!

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