Recent Posts

How sex toys empowered me after trauma & shame

In December of 2009, I bought my first sex toy, and it was incredible. Here was an entire industry dedicated to the act of bringing my body pleasure. Not for anyone else, but for my own enjoyment. And it wasn't presented as secretive and embarrassing and shameful: it was bright purple. And for the first time, my body felt like mine and my sexuality belonged to me. Since then, sex toys have been an active interest of mine, and I've learned a lot about them — and about how important they are.

SEATTLE EVENT: Sex Work is a Feminist Issue on April 22, 2019

Seattle friends! Join PROS BEFORE BROS author Ariel Meadow Stallings from the Offbeat Empire for an evening of discussion with Pike Long, Deputy Director of St. James Infirmary, the nation's only clinic operated for and by people in the sex industry. We'll dive into the details and differences between sex work, trafficking, and exploitation using an intersectional feminist lens.

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Move over "spinster": this old term for an unmarried woman is bad-ass

Back when I was buying a condo as an unmarried woman about a decade back, I was confronted with the term "spinster" in the legal documentation declaring that I *gasp* had no husband in the process of buying this home. Get your fainting couches ready. I think it would have been far less jarring had I been confronted with the term THORNBACK, though. What's a thornback you ask? Come with me on this journey of fantastic singlehood, friends…

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There's an app that'll help you find places where you can actually take up space as a larger person

You know what's rad? Stores, restaurants, bars, theme parks, and other public spaces which are accessible for everyone — even those of us who take up space or call ourselves fat or otherwise like to not be squeezed into spaces which are only meant for a fraction of the population. I stumbled upon an app that is sort of like a Yelp but for rating accessibility for fat/plus size (you pick your terms!) people. If you are one of these people, these things will sound familiar…

Recent Home

Everything you need on an alternative bar cart for all your swanky soirees

"Do you guys have any interesting ideas for setting up a mini bar in my new place? I've always wanted a grown-up bar cart for guests and impromptu gatherings and such. My new place doesn't have a lot of space and I want something a little off the beaten path. Re-purposing weird furniture or shelves, building something from scratch, crazy cart makeovers, — got any brilliance for me?"

Let's see what bar cart inspiration is out there and what basics you'll need to get started on your own…

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Crafting projects + charities = DIY for good

We've been talking about the hurdles of learning to sew recently and got a great comment that made me think: can charities + crafting = DIY for good? If you're learning to sew, quilt, crochet, whatever, is there a way to donate your crafted items to a charity who needs them? Sees like a no-brainer. I decided to find out.

Recent Life

How sex toys empowered me after trauma & shame

In December of 2009, I bought my first sex toy, and it was incredible. Here was an entire industry dedicated to the act of bringing my body pleasure. Not for anyone else, but for my own enjoyment. And it wasn't presented as secretive and embarrassing and shameful: it was bright purple. And for the first time, my body felt like mine and my sexuality belonged to me. Since then, sex toys have been an active interest of mine, and I've learned a lot about them — and about how important they are.

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There's an app that'll help you find places where you can actually take up space as a larger person

You know what's rad? Stores, restaurants, bars, theme parks, and other public spaces which are accessible for everyone — even those of us who take up space or call ourselves fat or otherwise like to not be squeezed into spaces which are only meant for a fraction of the population. I stumbled upon an app that is sort of like a Yelp but for rating accessibility for fat/plus size (you pick your terms!) people. If you are one of these people, these things will sound familiar…

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The call of loneliness

I truly want to believe that it doesn’t take heartbreak to make `you remember the love inside you… But evidence suggests that it takes that agony, that searing burn of loneliness and anxiety and isolation to truly help you find the lover that’s been within you, waiting for you, all this time.

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In which I tell conservatives I understand them because I used to be one

If I can say anything at this bleak hour, with the world splitting at its seams, it's this: conservatives, I understand you. It may not be something you expect to hear from a liberal, but I do. I understand you. I understand you because I used to be you. Long ago, in the era of Slick Willy and the dawn of explicit labels on music CDs, I was conservative, too. I stood up for men first, considered money an inalienable right, questioned immigration, and thought abortion was the greatest moral crisis facing our lives…

Recent Food

It's dangerous to snack alone, take these: geeky candy gifts to perk up your nerdy pals

Are you surrounded by hungry geeks who need candy right now?! Maybe you're having an RPG party, game night, geektastic birthday that needs fun candy or maybe you want to send a gift to a nerdy pal who needs a little love. No matter the occasion, I scrounged up some truly adorable and geeky candy gifts that you can snag for only a few galleons or sickles.

Gather your gold and grab a gift worthy of adventuring…

17 gingerbread house fails that made the sugary housing market crash

Not every gingerbread house attempt turns out as sweet and pretty as the one above. Sometimes the sweet turns sour and you end up pouring icing over the wreckage and calling it a day. Not all of us are meant to be baked good architects (myself included!) but most of these are pretty hilarious in their chaos. Let's revel in the holiday spirit of trying our best. It's the thought that counts and it all tastes yummy in the end, right?

Reader favorite raw vegan holiday menu recipes

Once upon a time, we talked about how to create a raw vegan holiday menu for Thanksgiving and the other winter holidays. Our readers, adept as they are in specialty diets, came hard with raw vegan holiday recipes that I am jonesing to try. From pumpkin pie to mezze plates to green bean casserole, you'll be shocked at what traditional dishes can be just as delish in raw vegan form.

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11 unusual pumpkin recipes that go WAY beyond pie

Tired of pumpkin yet? Pumpkin isn't tired of YOU. It never tires of you. It loves you. And when you see these unusual pumpkin recipes, you may change your tune and return that love. OR maybe you're still totally ready for pumpkin to find its place in your menu, in which case, scroll for the goods. We've got savory pumpkin dishes, pumpkin sweets that totally aren't your usual pumpkin pie, and even a little treat for the pooch in your life. Because y'all KNOW puppies love pumpkin. So grab a can of pumpkin puree or a whole pumpkin if you're feeling Martha Stewart-ish today, and tell us how the cooking goes…

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back today: love it or hate it?

In its earliest premiere ever, Starbucks is releasing the 2018 Pumpkin Spice Latte today, August 28, unofficially heralding the coming of fall. As someone who's motto is usually, "let people enjoy things," I don't get mad about it. It's a tasty drink and gets people excited for a popular season. How bad could it be? But you know how it is, especially on the internet…

Recent People

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When kids are not our "mini me": accepting your children as they are

When you become a parent, I think it's natural to have expectations and preconceived ideas of what the little person you have created is going to be like. Imagining the future and what that could look like is perfectly natural. But as they grow, you begin to see them become this little person who is unique and special in their own ways. At that point, you should let go of the ideas and expectations you had in your mind at the beginning…

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Asexuality and queerness redefined sex for us (& how we're making it work)

What is sexual compatibility? Insecurity made our life a little rocky early on. I worried that my partner's asexuality was simply disinterest in me, while she worried that I might prefer someone else. But after nearly seven years together, we've ironed that out — and in the process, built a sex life that we both find satisfying, exploring a non-traditional definition of sex. Here are the tools that we use to help us to define sex for ourselves…

Recent Pets

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Keep your dog leashed: thoughts from one friendly pet owner to another

Where signs clearly say, “All dogs on leash," folks can’t help but release them. I get it. There’s nothing like seeing your four-legged friend filled with joy as they bound freely through the field or trot proudly down the path.

But here's why I'm asking for everyone to keep their dogs leashed in those areas. It's for a few reasons…

My cat medication hack (that I stole from dog owners!)

My cat has diabetes and has to be given food and a shot every 12 hours. It's a pretty smooth process unless I can't be around at that 12-hour time and have to do a big schedule adjustment. Or worse, I'm on a 5:30am and 5:30pm schedule where I'm giving a sleepy shot and forget to write it down. Either way, I needed a solution that let me keep track of the fact that I gave her the shot. I stole this idea from a dog owner…

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I tried out a space-age automatic cleaning kitty litter box to see if it was worth the hype

I own two kitties who love to crap. All the time. I recently got the chance to try out a product I'd been eyeballing FOREVER: a Litter-Robot! Yep, one of those fancy-pants automated litter box cleaning machines. Plus it's the really nice kind that isn't cheap and it shows.

I decided to give it a whirl to see if a robo-litter box from the future was the better way I was seeking.

This Instagram of dogs eating gently is your new relaxation happy place

You haven't reached the end of the internet until you've seen this relaxing Instagram account where sweet and mild-mannered pooches eat treats, noms, and fuds gently… oh so gently. They're so sweet and so relaxing and ZZzzzzzz…

For fans of cute-ass puppies (and maybe ASMR for some of y'all?), this feed of gently scarfing dogs will be your new happy place. Get away from the news, from work, from your whole damned stressful life for five minutes while you remember that dogs are too good for this world…

Recent Do It Yourself

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Crafting projects + charities = DIY for good

We've been talking about the hurdles of learning to sew recently and got a great comment that made me think: can charities + crafting = DIY for good? If you're learning to sew, quilt, crochet, whatever, is there a way to donate your crafted items to a charity who needs them? Sees like a no-brainer. I decided to find out.

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Bollocks, Pulp Fiction, & Oregon Trail: 9 subversive cross-stitch patterns

When you're more about the LOLs and less about the "live laugh love," these are the subversive cross-stitch patterns for you. Most are DIY patterns you can download, but a few are available to purchase completed, so you can find something no matter your skill level.

From bollocks to Pulp Fiction to IT Crowd references to Oregon Trail, the cross-stitch market has gone hilarious…

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Intimidated by learning to sew? These are the resources you need (with reader advice!)

Back in the day we had a great discussion about sewing anxiety from a reader who wanted to learn but didn't know where to start. Our amazing readers stepped up to the plate to offer some great sewing advice on where to start and how to wrangle a needle and thread. (My favorite resource is Threadbanger on YouTube!) I pulled some of my favorite comments so that we can share in their collective sewing knowledge and start making clothes, totes, costumes, and whatever strikes your fabric fancy.

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How to carve an everlasting jack-o-lantern (from a foam pumpkin!)

I've loved holiday-specific crafts my entire life: gingerbread house building, Easter egg dying, and most especially, pumpkin carving. I moved to Louisiana seven years ago. The first few years I was down here I'd carve a real pumpkin, and due to humidity it would be moldy in three days or less no matter what I did to try to preserve it. That's when I discovered foam pumpkin carving!

How to waterproof canvas shoes the easy way

If you've got a pair of canvas shoes that you really love, you probably want them to last. I just nabbed this pair of rainbow shoes from Target recently and they're already showing some wear. Sadface. There are a couple of really easy ways to waterproof canvas shoes to keep them more resistant to rain and the elements: beeswax and my preferred way, Scotchguard. Here are both methods to try on your fave pair…

Recent Shopping

It's dangerous to snack alone, take these: geeky candy gifts to perk up your nerdy pals

Are you surrounded by hungry geeks who need candy right now?! Maybe you're having an RPG party, game night, geektastic birthday that needs fun candy or maybe you want to send a gift to a nerdy pal who needs a little love. No matter the occasion, I scrounged up some truly adorable and geeky candy gifts that you can snag for only a few galleons or sickles.

Gather your gold and grab a gift worthy of adventuring…

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25 offbeat Valentine gift ideas for a sweet, sexy, & smoldering Valentine's Day

If you celebrate the silliness of Valentine's Day, this roundup of offbeat Valentine gift ideas is for you. And if you don't, I totally get it. But it doesn't have to be all about partners and love and junk. It can be about friendship, self love, and lots of, ahem, playtime, too. Here are 25 Valentine's Day gifts that are sincere, goofy, spiritual, glam, and maybe totally for you or your partner(s).

Keep an eagle eye out for a shout-out to our publisher's new passion project (literally)…

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The most ridiculously adorable gifts to snag on Small Business Saturday (that you'll totally want to keep)

If you're planning to take advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Hangover Tuesday, you'll probably snag some sweet deals. But don't forget: toooons of small businesses also have sales and promotions going on which allow you to stock up gifts for the holidays while supporting indie and small businesses. I rounded up a bunch of ludicrously endearing gifts for that super special weirdo in your life… or let's face it, just for ourselves.

Tons of Hocus Pocus gear (shirts! prints! costumes!) to put a spell on you

Come little reader, I'll take you away, into a land of enchantment. Hocus Pocus has entered the pantheon of classics to rewatch this time of year. Thankfully, when something becomes popular, MERCH arrives! There are some cute AF Hocus Pocus gear like shirts, jewelry, props, prints, and even costumes that are available to get you in the spirit.

Let me put a spell on you while you peruse the merchandise. I promise not to steal your youth. Probably…

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