Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Excuse my Feminism: Emma Stone v Gwen Stefani

Those close to me know I identify as a feminist. I firmly believe in the beautiful difference between and the equality of the sexes. I encourage myself and others to challenge all stereotypes, but especially gender stereotypes.

For the most part, I try to keep this low-key: I point out to students why stereotypes they use might be offensive to those around them. I try to eliminate stereotypical comments from my vernacular. I lovingly remind my husband on occasion that my gender does not determine who is making dinner on a particular evening (love you, dear).

Every once in a while, though, I can't help myself. I have to say something. I've probably offended on occasion, but I don't apologize for that. I know genders are different, and that should be celebrated, but many stereotypes that exist are demeaning and have nothing to do with our divine genders.

Emma Stone is one of my current favorites. She is a rockstar for women everywhere. Her film Easy A was a masterpiece in pointing out the double-standard for women when it comes to sexuality. A few months back, she did a phenomenal appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. On this episode, she and Jimmy Fallon did a lip sync battle, in which she rocks. Watch it now. It will only improve your way of living:

Yes, Emma's appearance is incredible. But only when I watch a more recent lip sync battle did the reasons why become more clear to me. Gwen Stefani's appearance on The Tonight Show was so disappointing. Watch it, and prepare to be ashamed:

Again, I'm sorry you had to watch that. At least you have Blake and Jimmy in there to ease the pain a bit. "Puttin on the Ritz" is fantastic.

Gwen Stefani is a talented and successful woman in the world of music. Congratulations to her on being a judge this season on The Voice. She deserves it. However, her lip sync on The Tonight Show was a capital example of where inequality with women still lies.

Her first choice of song is an excellent one: "Call Me Maybe" by Carley Rae Jepson. Although it's not something I would have said, I don't judge her too harshly for taking a jab at the musical quality of the piece. HOWEVER, she doesn't even take it seriously. Her lip syncing is BAD. "Call Me Maybe" might just be the easiest song in the world to lip sync, and she does it poorly. She cops out, by silly-dancing around the stage. And then. And then she exploits her sexual nature by dancing up on Jimmy. I mean. I MEAN. Sexy dancing may be the #1 negative cop-out for girls at social gatherings. I think it falls as #4 of wort female behaviors, to fit in Tina Fey's list: "girl-on-girl sabotage is the third worst kind of female behavior, right behind saying "like" all the time and leaving your baby in a dumpster.” Whether girls sexy-dance to impress the guy or make a joke, it is demeaning to our sacred sexual nature as women, and I hate it.

THEN. Her final number was a duet with Blake Shelton. I give props that this was a unique idea, but I hate it for a few reasons: First, it was badly lip-synced again (Come on, Gwen. You had one job). Second, she had to rely on a MAN to create humor on the stage. Gwen alone WAS NOT FUNNY. Blake Shelton totally carried the number and I commend him for putting up with the whole thing.

Emma Stone does no such thing (watch it again to make you happy). She relies on herself and her talents to create a fantastic experience and HUMOR for her viewers. She uses her gender to enhance the laugh-inducing experience. She purposefully chooses, as other candidates have done successfully, songs by members of the opposite gender. By doing this, humor is naturally created, but more so because Emma does the number still as a woman. She doesn't pretend to be a man, nor does she over sexualize her femininity--She simply is a woman singing, with an obviously male voice apparently coming from her mouth. She does it well, despite the difficult nature of the songs she chose, and that is FUNNY. She doesn't even dance much, but the moves she does are calculated and so darn funny. If a man had been on stage with Emma, I would have been annoyed with him and wanted him to leave. She challenged herself, was true to who she is, and did what I think to be the best Jimmy Fallon lip sync ever. And that's saying something.

So, Emma, thank you. Thank you for being strong and feminine and beautiful and powerful and funny. I want to be more like you in these regards. I'm so glad there are women out there on the big stages like Emma Stone, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Lawrence that are true to themselves and to women everywhere. I'm glad for my future babies, and for me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Post Against Pants

Emma Watson recently gave an incredibly inspiring speech at the UN (you go, girl) about feminism. I agree with almost everything she said 100%. You should read it if you haven't, here.

Emma's brave step into the hot lava land of controversial issues has inspired me to take my own baby step there; About pants.

Recently, Colton expressed his frustration at his inability to post pictures and videos of me on Snapchat because of my "almost constant partial immodesty." Where Colton was beating around the bush, I will be straight forward: I prefer not to wear pants.

I know this will offend some people, but I feel like my opinion should be expressed because I have it. I expect this post to be trending on Facebook within 24 hours.

I don't think Colton realized how infrequently I would be wearing pants once we were married. Like the amazing husband he is, he tolerates it, laughs at it, and only makes disapproving comments occasionally. He is truly a great example of patience to me. But, whether I have just come home from work and am in a skirt or slacks, or if we've just arrived home after a night on the town in my skinny jeans, I take them off as quickly as I can.

Now, some of you may be wondering, "Why does she not wear pants so often?" These some of you are probably of the male association. I make this gender-based assumption for a couple of reasons: 1. I have lived with both girls and boys, and in my experience, girls complain and are wearing alternatives to pants far more often than boys. 2. All the anti-pant sentiment on the internet seems to be circulating among the female population. Mainly on Pinterest (some seem to consider it a safe-haven where women can say/do/pin what they want and the opposite gender won't be aware). 

So, to answer your question I ask you another in return: have you worn girl pants? So tight. For slacks to be fashionable, they basically have to be leggings. In slack material. I wish I had emojis right now so I could properly demonstrate how much that makes me want to cartoon-die. With all that said, however, if there are any men out there who wish to join in the anit-pants rant, feel free to join in. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, never mind. Sorry to waste your time.
Hahahahah I laughed inordinately hard at this. Its very much how I feel today :D.
Now, if I only don't wear pants at home when we don't have any company, what's the problem? Well, I've literally decided not to go places because of the need to put pants back on. Sometimes it fills me with so much dread, I can't muster the courage. But most of the time, it's just a hassle that sounds something like this:
 C: Adam and Lindsey told us to come over.
 M: Uhhhhh...When?
 C: Now.
 M: Uuuuggggghhhhh...
 C: ...
 M: That means I need pants then, huh?
 C: Yes. Yes, it does.
[Side bar: it must be noted that Adam and Lindsey are our very best friends and I very much enjoy their company. It's just the pants part I sometimes don't enjoy. And groaning about it makes it easier somehow.]
[Side bar 2: I'm a huge whiney-baby. I don't think very many people know this about me. Sorry Colton. Man I'm just filled with these marriage surprises.]

Now, let it be said that not wearing pants usually doesn't mean trotting around in my undies. First, we like to have our windows and blinds open all the time for light and air. This also means people can. see. me. Yeesh. Usually no pants means leggings because, sorry ladies, leggings still aren't pants. Throughout my life "no pants" has meant: running shorts, pajama pants, sweat pants, men's basketball shorts (thanks for the tip, Kristen), and most currently, leggings. In any form, however, ANY alternative to pants is a good alternative. Except maybe swim wear.
Now, I know I've been bold in my statements here today. Please keep an open heart and mind to my ideas. I know I may offend some people, but remember that I am expressing my opinions and you may take them with a grain of salt. Or a whole shaker-full. I will continue to sit on my couch and eat candy while not wearing pants. Happily Ever After.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dreams really do come true

Yeah yeah yeah it's cheezy, but I'm a teacher.  A real life, big girl, [almost] certified teacher.  And it's awesome.

My parents came to visit last week to bring Nathan to BYU and they came after school to visit and of course my dad took pictures.  This is a dream come true for him, too.

 Note: "Mrs. Bragg" nameplate.  I about freaked the first time I saw it, and so did my dad.  Obviously.  He had to take a picture.  I'm bummed though that you can't see the awesome posters I have on my door.  I have people stopping all the time to look when my door's propped open.

 This was my pretend-I'm-actually-working-and-my-dad's-not-just-snapping-pics pose.  Also, it's my desk!  Notice the awesome poster on my office door and the SWEET R2D2 Ariel drew me.  You can barely see Chewy in the next pictures.  She drew me characters for all over my room, and I love them.

 These were my very attentive students, and Jeffrey spitting spit wads, I believe.  You can see some of the stars hanging from my ceiling in this pic, along with my baby-sized classroom library.  It's growing though!  Someday I'll fill those shelves!

Dad even made me pretend to teach.  Voila.  I like that you can see my "Reading Can Take You Places" board here.  Those are vintage travel posters for planets from the Star Wars movies.  They're SWEET and what really inspired the whole theme in my room.

Actually, that's a funny story, so I'll tell it for posterity.  I was struggling this summer, trying to pick a theme.  I just had to pick something and go with it, and I didn't want to go generic.  Themes help drive my passion.  I dunno.  But my year-long question we're studying is "What is a Hero."  Obviously my first thought is superheroes, and I went through my own faze of superhero nerdiness, so I have a pretty deep well of knowledge to draw on.  However, Superman was my jam, along with much of the DC Comics crew and that is where my knowledge resides.  However, now, in my later, more mature years, I fully realize that Marvel Comic characters are MUCH cooler.  That creates a problem for me: It would be easier for me to do DC, but kids would like Marvel better.  I don't know as much, and honestly there isn't as much Marvel stuff appropriate for a classroom as there is DC.  I wonder why that is... but I simply could NOT mix the two, for obvious reasons, and I was just left frustrated.  I was on a poster website looking at vintage superhero posters and feeling too under-excited, when a suggestion popped up with the vintage Star Wars posters.  I just about freaked out.  And that was that, my classroom theme became "Star Wars," and I became a very happy teacher.  And all my kiddos think I'm the BIGGEST nerd, which is totally fine with me.  I love pulling in the old movies for examples, and the kids love it too (when they get my nerdy jokes)(We had a whole lesson on allusions, and my lead in was "remember how all my jokes yesterday totally flopped? [mummers of agreement] that's because you didn't get the ALLUSIONS!")(I'm a genius).

Anyway, we've been in school a couple of weeks now, and every once in a while I think, "Man, I've got this teaching thing DOWN." Then, someone or something rapidly reminds me that I have a long, long way to go.  I love it.

#lifeofateacher #cantwait #itrytopunctuatemyhashtagseverytime #englishteacher #nerd

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, HAAAAAAppy AnniVERsaRY

My mom let me know of this goody morning of our anniversary.  June 23rd. Since then, it has been stuck in my head constantly, and now I've done the same to you...

Yes, we were apart for our first anniversary, yes it wasn't very fun, but we did our best.  Two months ago, Colton actually surprised me with a wedding band!  I found it on one of those flash sale sites and sent him the link because we had talked about it.  We talked about it again and decided we didn't need to spend that much on just me.  And then he went behind my back and got it anyways.  The little stinker.  I love it.

So we basically Skyped all day long, and were mushy all over Facebook.  You make due with what you have, right?  Colton came to California the following Saturday.

Friday night before, I stayed overnight for a family in our ward.  The mom and dad wanted a mini-getaway, and I teach the kiddies swim lessons, so they're really comfortable with me.  It was a BLAST.

I just wanted to send a quick pic to Colton, so I said, "smile!" and they bunched together all cutesy.  I love it.
 Wanted to show off her dolls
messy mac n cheese face.  This boy melts my heart

Yup, glowstick dance party.  It's a winner every time.  Colton flew in around noon the next day, and came over to the house to play.  I'm not trying to sound pompous, but these kids adore me.  For example, Addison just bought a swimsuit (a rashguard and bottoms) to be just like me.  And that's just the start of it.  But when Colton showed up, it was like they couldn't care less about me.  They absolutely loved him.  It was so much fun to wrestle and play and make messes.

We had the kiddies until 5, so to fill the time (after some cleanup time, of course) we decided to ride bikes downtown and get ice cream.  I loved walking around with the kiddies, and honestly it made me very excited to come visit grandma and grandpa someday with our own.

Brody took one look at that obnoxious bright green, purple and blue ice cream and had to have it.  It was awesome.  And as we were leaving, Addison noticed a man standing next to another table were his buddy was sitting and offered him one of our chairs.  It was just about the sweetest thing I had ever seen.  This kids...

That night was Casey and Mia's wedding reception, and BOY was it beautiful.  I loved the California wilderness backdrop (I really really wanted an outdoor reception).  I'm so happy for Casey and Mia, and to share a house with them, officially, as two married couples!  

There are plenty of pictures from that night, but the official photographer definitely has them all and it's illegal to copy them into my blog. haha Oh, and one of the photographers took a picture of me then introduced himself saying, "I've taken so many pictures of you I feel like I know you." Haha Burnt Exposure is a very talented group of photographers and I have been to a LOT of their weddings. 

So because of all the busyness, we actually celebrated our anniversary on Monday, July 1.  It was really simple: dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant of ours, Alessa, in downtown HB (we went there for my birthday last year).

We then went home to our defrosted wedding cake topper.  It was actually really good! Then we watched So I Married and Axe Murderer.  haha it was great.

So, even though we weren't together for our actual anniversary, we made the most of things.  We are very happy, very in love, and very grateful for all we've learned in the past year.  Sure, we've had plenty of rough times, and if what they say is true and the first year is the hardest, I wouldn't mind leaving some of those hard things behind, but they've each brought us closer together and it feel so good to part of a team that's wholly committed to us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spontaneity makes the world go 'round

Last week, Danny and his band "Good Honest Effort" won their night at the Velour's battle of the bands. My dad mentioned that he would really enjoy seeing them in the finals, and I replied I would happily go with him, but I didn't really think it would happen.

He went back and forth all week. Finally, Friday came around, and I got home from work, went upstairs and asked,
"So, are we going?"
"I think so. Go shower."
So I did. Quickly. And I grabbed my toothbrush and we headed out. I actually stayed awake until Las Vegas (those of you who have traveled with me know this is a small miracle). We stayed in st. George for the night then drove the rest of the way in the morning. I slept for all of that.

We actually didn't go all the way to Provo. We met a group of my friends in Mona, UT, and spent a few hours at the ponds there. Rope swings and trees, inflatable lounge chairs and dragon flies: it was paradise. Poor Colton's leg is still broken, so his activities were limited, but we had a very enjoyable time. My dad even rocked the rope swing. My attempt was less glamorous, but I did it.

Colton had to work from 5-9, so he missed the first part of the show, but the rest of us had a blast. Provo is just so full of talented musicians! I loved meeting up with Lindsey B there, and seeing so many of the regular gang. It was like I had never been gone. 

However, I had to leave the next morning. We got up about 6:30 (dad let us sleep in after the show went past midnight)(yeah right), I gave my little Father's (and someday-father's) Day gifts to my dad and colton, and then we bounced.

I crashed pretty hard, and didn't stir until Mesquite, when dad woke me up for a sacrament meeting in Spanish (luck of the time slots). We even made it back for the Dad's day BBQ at Tom and Louise's.

What a crazy, fun weekend. I loved it. And I'm so grateful I got to see Colton. We haven't really been I apart since the bit of distance we did during our engagement. A week was enough for us. Then this next leg is only two weeks, and we're already halfway done with that.

We can do this thing.

Worlds apart

Yes, Colton and I are currently living apart. Yes, it's incredibly lame.

Men used to go off to war, and women would stay home raising and bearing children. Now, I go to California to teach swim lessons, and Colton has to do his own laundry? I think we've got it easy.

I've taught swim lessons for Amber since I graduated high school (Is this seriously my fifth summer?). It's a sweet gig: she does the scheduling and the money handling and the pool upkeep (it's in her backyard) and I just show up and say "big arms!" And "bubble, bubble, breath!" All day long. A few summers ago I opted to work part-time for Amber because I was trying to score an internship in a law firm (back in my I'm-gonna-be-a-lawyer phase). When that fell through, I knew I needed to get busy, so I started babysitting during the day and teaching lessons at other people's houses. I've never gone part-time for Amber again, but I have kept are teaching other places. Not gonna lie, although the money is better (I get to keep all of it instead of sharing with Amber), it's EXHAUSTING. The driving, the scheduling, the money handling...all of it. Not fun. And all around my regular 6 hour day.

 Today I taught from 8-9 for a family in the ward, then ran to target to buy a watch and sinking toys because I left mine in Utah, and then to Amber's from 9:30-4, with a twenty minute lunch break, then back to the pool from the morning to teach a lesson for their neighbor who wanted in on the action.  I. Am. Tired. I think the neighbors are bringing friends tomorrow too, so  tomorrow's day might be even longer. Yikes.

And in case it didn't register, teaching swim lessons is a job where you can NEVER get frustrated.  You're dealing with babies, for goodness sakes! And parents! Crazy parents! I am all smiles all day, so by the time I get home, all I want to do is eat Bon bons and rant on the blog (only half of that is actually happening).

 I do love my job tremendously, and honestly I'm here for the money.  I can make so much more here doing something I really love, instead of getting some lame temp job and making not as much. So that's why Colton and I are living apart for a couple of months.  It'll be okay.  Lots of visits, google hangouts, and good friends and family time make it all okay. Or at least partially.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Yes, I'm very behind.  Yes, my life is crazy. Yes, I love it.

Shout-out to Missy Mae for the motivation to write a little.

So Danny's birthday is March 15 (beware the ides...) and he was talking to my mom about a week before about what he wanted, etc., and he just said "I just want a cake.  If no one makes me one, I guess I'll just buy one for myself." haha talk about sad!  ALSO, I have made Danny a cake for the last 2 years we've been at school together so why wouldn't I make him a cake this year?  It's beyond me.

So of course my mom told me this and I promptly told Danny to ease his mind because of course I would make him a cake, and proceeded to ask him what kind.

"Um.  A vanilla cake.  With vanilla frosting."

That's it?  I couldn't persuade him to look into fun cupcakes, crazy fillings, a mickey-mouse shape, or ANYTHING.  So I proceeded to make the most boring cake ever...or so I thought.

I baked the rounds the night before and the day of his birthday remembered I hate frosting cakes.  Layered cakes are SO much prettier than cakes in the pan still, so I was determined to try my hardest, but I'm afraid I will have to make a lot more cakes to perfect this art... because I'm very far from perfection.  As I attempted to frost the cake, I was dying: partly from laughter, partly from frustration.  It didn't help that the frosting turned out a very vivid pink instead of a many red like I had intended, no matter how much food coloring I used.  

Luckily Danny came over with Colton when I already had the second coat of frosting (is that a thing) on the cake or else he probably would have regretted asking me to bake it.  I did enjoy throwing sprinkles all over it to cover the mess (what is the proper method for getting sprinkles on the side of a very fragile cake?), and it only melted a little.
Overall, I think it was a success.  Even if it didn't look good, it tasted good, and that's what really matters, right?

And Danny got to blow out his candles, after all.
And yes, he did miss one.  Whoops!

And yes, we are siblings.  The glasses really push it over the edge, I know.
Happy 24th, Danny!