Monthly Archives: February 2014

AIBC Poll: Would You Do No Makeup Monday?

This morning, Today Show anchors went live without their usual bevy of beauty products in the name of normalcy. Yes. They, too, have wrinkles and age spots and dark circles under their eyes. Who knew?

no makeup

Check out their bare-faced debuts here.

Empowerment or PR stunt? You decide.

nomakeup2

Either way, AIBC has to give them props. It takes a strong person to face and embrace that makeup-free reflection in the mirror each morning, much less to share it with the rest of the world. Would you bare it all (from the neck up) to your co-workers? Take our poll and let us know!

Flying high: Don’t be a menace in the skies

After yet another work trip, I’m reminded again of all the things people do that drive me crazy on a flight.

I don’t mind the crying babies. I usually don’t mind being delayed. I don’t mind the people who “spill over” their airline seat. I don’t battle for an armrest. I don’t start a fight with the person in front of me when they crush my legs by “reclining,” if that’s what you call it. I don’t mind the people who don’t have the security measures memorized.

Instead, I’d like to share a few pet peeves that, if followed, will make everyone’s trip more enjoyable, even yours.

First, airline flying has ceased to become a vacation. Unless you travel first class all the time, it’s not going to be fun and relaxing. Is a car trip fun? Well, neither is flying. And those people you see in first class – most of the time they’re not rich. They just fly a lot. Pity them. So, don’t complain about the leg room, the poor quality of the wine list, or the lines you have to wait in. I’m still surprised they offer free beverages and snacks at this point.

Flying is a lot of waiting. You wait in security. You wait to board the plane. And once you get your ticket checked, you stand in line to actually get to your seat. You wait to get off the plane. You wait to get your luggage from baggage claim. Once you mastered the virtue of patience, that’s really the biggest hurdle.

  1. You will probably have to wait in a security line. With that said, you will probably not miss your flight if you’re waiting in security. I’ve never missed a flight because I’m stuck in security. If by chance, you think you’re going to miss your flight, inform the ticket counter or a TSA officer. They may let you go through a priority line. If you just hate waiting in line, do NOT ask the people at the front of the line if you can cut in front because you may miss your flight. This happened to me once, and being the good person I was, I let a woman go ahead of me (and about 10 other people did the same who were in front of me). Let me tell you that that good deed feeling withered away when I saw the same woman drinking her coffee and reading a newspaper at my gate. Yes, we were on the same flight.
  2. If you’re at the gate, they’re probably not going to leave you. You will have a seat. Standing by the ticket counter when they’re calling first class passengers and you’re in Group 5, just means that people will either think you’re standing in line for first class (which means they’ll miss their boarding group) or they will have to step around you because you’re too eager to board the plane. Grab a chair in the terminal and enjoy your latte. You probably have another 10 minutes to wait.
  3. Again – you’re going to get off the plane. Promise. When the plane docks, there is no need for you to unbuckle your seatbelt, jump up, grab your overhead luggage … and then wait in the aisle for 20 minutes.
  4. These people who stand in the aisle for 20 minutes, you’ll see them rush off the plane. I’ve had people crawl over my luggage at this point. I’ve also had people crawl under my luggage as I’m in the process of taking it down from the overhead bins. It takes 10 seconds, but they just can’t wait that long. Maybe they have another flight to catch? Probably not. Just wait your turn to get off the plane. Again, if you’re worried about missing a connecting flight, inform the airline attendant. Don’t be one of those yahoos who trample over people because they have to get off the plane immediately. These are the same people you’ll see at baggage claim waiting for their luggage.
  5. Now that we’re at baggage claim, let’s all hover over the belt. You know, because it’s going so fast, you might miss that your luggage comes out of the window and whooshes right past you. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. If everyone would just take a few steps back, everyone would have a chance to grab their luggage without falling over people or hopping on the belt to avoid losing your bag on the first go-round. When you see your bag, you could simply step forward, grab it and then pull it back. I’ve seen people fall on the belt or race over people to grab their bags. Guess what? If you miss it, it’s coming back again in about 60 seconds. Patience.

In addition to patience, let’s examine common sense. We are going to back up and examine the security line. No lie, this past week, I followed a woman through the security gate who had metal studs on the shoulders of her shirt and all down her blue jeans. Seriously? Yes, you’re going to get a pat down. I’ve heard of a woman who had half a gun fused to her purse. Did she just “randomly selected” for further screening. Yes, ma’am.

Are you going to put your entire life in the overhead compartment when you board the plane? Did you not hear the flight attendant explicitly say how to load your luggage … like, five times? Large bag on top, smaller bag under the seat. If I board the plane and you have crammed your bag, purse, coat, shopping bag in the overhead compartment, I will rearrange your stuff. I may even be nice enough to ask whose it is and then hand it to you so you don’t have to get up. Don’t be an overhead compartment hog. If anything, wait until everyone has boarded the plane, then add your items overhead.

It may seem as if I have a lot of gripes, but flying can be so much more enjoyable if you have patience and common sense, and just a touch of courtesy and self-awareness.

You’re welcome,

CattyLiz

Be Less Horrible to One Another

No… it isn’t the 2014 version of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, but it could be.

billandted

The past 5 days have pulled me all over the country with the news of insane bills and potential laws that are, at their core, new ways for us to be horrible to each other.  The past 5 days have brought tears to my eyes, broken my heart, and given me renewed hope for the future all at the same time.  The past 5 days have caused me to reflect on my life, how I was raised, and how I have been treated. The past 5 days have been exhausting.

I grew up as an intelligent, overweight, glasses-wearing kid in the heart of the southern United States.  I was raised Southern Baptist. I was a cancer survivor – but people didn’t really remember that about me in school.  As a child I sang in church, “Let us love one another” and I believed that was how God and my parents wanted me to be.  Teachers loved me.  I loved school and the challenge of learning.   But I was teased, and there were times the teasing verged on bullying.  I cried more times than I could count because my best friend chose a new friend, because the boy I liked told everyone “not that fat girl,” because the boys that did start calling me wanted help with their homework or they wanted me to ask my friend to go out with them.  I barely even realized I was a lesbian before the teasing and disgusting jokes at my expense began all over again, and another best friend decided we weren’t going to be friends anymore.  At 19 I relived the teasing and tears of my 11 year-old self, feeling that I had no one at home to turn to.

Risk of Gay Teen Suicide by Region in 2011
Source: Huffington Post

But I got away from all that.  I moved away and I moved on.  I didn’t leave the south, but I left the confines of my close-minded environment.  And now, as an adult I am an intelligent, successful scientist who owns my own home, pays all my bills, gives to charities that I believe in, and mentors to students as they work their way through school to join my profession.  And yes, if you are wondering, I am a Christian. I consider myself lucky. I have been able to embrace who I am and live (mostly) without worrying about hiding who I am. I have worked hard to make something of myself.  But all around me, every single day I am bombarded by stories and images of hate.  Discrimination is just another form of teasing, of bullying, of making people feel isolated and hopeless.  Is this how Christians really think Jesus would act? I do not believe that it is. We all should just love and are for each other. That is what Jesus would do. But will we ever get there?

Have you heard of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act?  It’s being disguised as an update to the state seal, so it is sneaking through committee, but it also aims to “restore religious freedom” in Mississippi.  It basically says we are all free to exercise our religious beliefs without fearing the burden of the law.  Beat up the gay kid in class because your church said being gay is a sin?  That’s okay, you were exercising your religious beliefs!  There are so many ways to interpret that.

Did you see House Bill 2453 in Kansas?  Same story.  A bill concerned with religious freedoms in respect to marriage.  It’s aim was to protect someone from being discriminated against for their religious beliefs by allowing them to discriminate against anyone in a civil union, gay marriage or similar arragement.  A restaurant owner could put up a sign that said “No Gays Served Here” and that would be perfectly legal.  Next we will have separate water fountains and “Gays Only” bathrooms.

How about Idaho?  Same story. Different state.  Segregation and discrimination legalized under the veil of religious freedom.  It’s not the loving one another religion I sang about as a child.  It doesn’t feel freedom of any kind to me. And sadly there have been similar bills proposed in South Dakota and Arizona, I may have even missed a few.

Across the globe, the Ugandan President plans to sign a bill that would make it illegal to be gay in Uganda.  The Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) is an attempt to “combat the spread of HIV/AIDS” and wage a war on the “homosexual lobby” in Uganda.  So rather than seek care when they are ill, gays and lesbians will likely retreat and hide from the possibility of being arrested.

In researching for this blog post, I came across this column – a story from someone growing up gay, searching, looking for someone like them.  This is what it feels like to be isolated, every day of your life.  This is what it feels like being teased and bullied as a kid.  But, this is what it also feels like when we make laws that allow adults to discriminate against each other, be horrible, and hide behind relegion while they do it.  Instead of embracing each other with love, when we are faced with the unknown, with differences, we “eat our own.”

This leads me to the “Turn the Gays Away” bill in Tennessee.  Also known as the “Religious Freedom Act,” and very similar to the bills in Mississippi and Kansas, this bill was actually aimed at protecting wedding-related business from lawsuits if they refused service to same-sex couples if it violated the business owners’ religious beliefs.  But on Tuesday, Tennessee Senator Mike Bell shelved his bill.  A small victory, considering the legislators who were supporting the bill all stated that they felt current laws will protect people of faith from having to participate in activities that violate their religious beliefs, but it was a victory none-the-less, right?

Then I watched this video.  It was part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive Conference.  I watched as a young Hollywood starlet came out as a lesbian in front of an audience and cameras and more.  If you don’t know her, meet the star of Juno and Whip it, Ellen Page:

“You’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.”

Ellen says it all.  She’s tired of hiding, tired of conforming to what Hollywood says she has to be, and you can tell she’s a little scared.  Her voice is shaking.  Personally, I think she’s probably exhausted, and I think she hits the nail on the head.  She had me crying.  Why can’t we all just be kind to each other?  Why can’t we all practice our religion freely and love one another?  If we approach everyone and every situation with love and kindness, does it really matter who we choose to marry?

Choose love.
AIBC team member zenkitty

#LoveConquersHate
#BeExcellentToOneAnother
#AllYouNeedisLove

Vote: Who is the Cattiest Character on Downton Abbey?

After a long, long week of waiting, it’s finally Downton Day! So we want to know — who is the cattiest character at Downton? The competition is stiff, but can you pick just one?

The cast of Downton Abbey (as if they need an introduction)

The cast of Downton Abbey (as if they need an introduction)

Take That, Cupid!

Valentine’s Day. Every February those two words strike fear and anticipation into the hearts and wallets of people everywhere. No gender, religion or relationship status can quite get us out of the path of this heart-slinging, chocolate inhaling holiday.

Vday chocolate

There’s always been something slightly disturbing to me about a day that celebrates full-figured babies shooting arrows at people, but it’s been a love-hate situation with me and V-day since the beginning.

High school was all about cutesy love notes and “perfect” gifts. Hold your reflux. In college, I embraced the suck of single lady-hood and threw monster anti-Valentine’s Day parties that made even the happily coupled want to slap each other and call things off. Yep. That was me. Married life turned the day to nothing except a flashback pity party. Boo-hoo. Hence, my new incarnation as a soon-to-be divorcee staring down today with a double dare in my eye.

vday watching

I refuse to be that bitter break-up victim today.

We all have our issues with Valentine’s Day past, present and future. It’s a day that makes you look at your life from a very uncomfortable angle. Who am I in relation to those I love? What is love to me? Am I loved or loving? If I don’t have romantic love now, will I ever?

vday snap

You know your answers. I know mine, as uncertain and disturbingly honest as they are.

Today, I choose love. I sign my name to a couple of  heart-shaped cards and tape them to cartoon character embossed boxes of chocolates knowing that I’m closer to true love than ever before in my life. This is what it feels like to love without boundaries and without a thought to the consequences of opening my heart so completely to two mini-mes. It may not be the type of love that half-naked cherub was aiming for when he shot, but the effects are permanent.

vday target

I remind myself that I don’t need to be part of a couple to know real love. If that opportunity ever does cross my path again (not probable, but possible), this is my gauge. Those arms that almost squeeze the breath out of me when little voices wish me “Happy Valentine’s Day” today will measure what “twue wuv” can be in my future. God help the hypothetical person who walks into that competition if he exists. This feeling  is a lot to live up to.

It’s enough to celebrate the whole year. Especially with chocolate.

Much love to you all,

Melanie

When in Doubt, Say It With E-love

It’s the dreaded day of days. The arrows are sharpened, so we hope you wore your Kevlar.

Valentine’s Day is an equal opportunity hassle for guys and gals, single or attached. Whether or not you truly feel it, society says today is the day to tell the people in your world how much you love them.

And if you haven’t made it to the local pharmacy for a card to say what you’d prefer not to, we have the perfect e-cards to help you make nice (or not.) 

Singles just getting into the game should be subtle.

vday physical

And smooth.

vday fine

And honest.

vday buns

And open to more commitment.

vday cellmate

For those dealing with some heartbreak, this is a favorite.

vday gone

Or this.

vday box

Perhaps make it official?

vday divorce

Maybe just an affirmation?

vday std

Long-time lovers and married couples should love this.

vday sloth

Or this.

vday ron

Maybe a heartfelt sentiment?

vday patience

Or a piece of your mind?

vday zombie

Whatever you choose, deliver these with care. That Cupid kid can be a real pain-in-the-butt.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the AIBC team!

You wish you kicked ass, like a girl!

My son busted it on the concrete the other day.  Trying not to hover I called out to him, “You alright dude?”  Taking a few deep breaths, he stood up and dusted off his hind quarters.  He smiled and proclaimed, “I’m a man, I can take anything.”

Smiling, I turned and walked away.  It was like a thorn in my paw.  It ate at me all day.  Why is bravery and tough synonymous with being a man?  When I think of someone both brave and tough, most of my examples are women.

Being a Southern mother of a son, I have had to shrug off plenty of sexist remarks used to toughen up boys: boys don’t cry, step it up Nancy, and girls play in kitchens.  But I have had enough.

Maybe my time in the dojo has colored my outlook, but women ARE brave and tenacious.  We are the backbone of our families; the rule makers and enforcers of our homes; and the front line of protection for our friends, families, and children.

We need to inform our boys and girls of the women in the world that push the boundaries and prove the stereotypes wrong.  We need to remind them that women are more than girlfriends, wives, and mothers.  That way maybe the next time my son hears, “You ____ like a girl” a few pictures may come to mind.

Throw like a girl.

Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch

Hammer the gavel like a girl.

Sandra Day O'Conner, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan

Sandra Day O’Conner, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan

Cook like a girl.

Alice Waters

Alice Waters

Run like a girl.

Jackie Joyner Kersee

Jackie Joyner Kersee

Drive like a girl.

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick

Run a Country like a girl.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Train a Marine like a girl.

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, and Christina Fuentes Montenegro

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, and Christina Fuentes Montenegro

Call the shots like a girl.

Violet Palmer

Violet Palmer

Paint like a girl.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

And Punch like a girl.

Laila Ali

Laila Ali

March is Women’s History Month, and I have decided that every day I am going to tell the story of a woman who has blazed the trail.  There are examples of a woman’s touch in every facet of our world’s history, and I know he will not be the only one to learn a thing or two about the life of women.

I urge you to do the same, take the time to find (and pass on) a few examples of just how tenacious we can be.

– NinjaKitty

#girlskicksass  #betenacious  #WomensHistroyMonth  #girlpower