I know you all have been waiting for my 2017 lesbian flick preview reviews to come out. Keep in mind they are not all from 2017, that is just when I reviewed said previews. It is 3AM on a Tuesday, raining, perfect.
I have not seen any of the actual movies yet as they are either not officially out or because I now live in an endearing little town in the South that does not have a place to watch said films. I should be the one to remedy this.
The first film is, La Luciérnaga (The Firefly) from 2013. A sister loses her brother and then falls in love with his widow.
Next is Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden) a 2016 South Korean erotic psychological thriller. It’s based on one of my all time favorite BBC series, written by lesbian Sarah Waters, Fingersmith. Watch it first! This should be breathtaking.
Next is Lovesong. No regrets. 2016 release. May not be a full fledged lesbo flick, but you know…. :]
Last, but not least, Heartland – 2016. Death, The South, lesbians, and love, I can’t wait.
Many of the pieces that are made here at Mushpa + Mensa, use little, medium and larger seeds from the amazon rain-forest, collected specifically from Ecuador.
As a native Ecuadorian, I am able to travel back to my childhood country, bring my lady with me, and browse though many of the outdoor markets that sell these wonderful seeds, which we then take and make our eco-jewelry from.
So what are the three seeds?
The largest of all the seeds is tagua, although in other Latin American countries it can be referred to as vegetable ivory, palm ivory, marfim-vegetal, corozo, or jarina, the seeds all still derive from the same genus of palms: Phytelephas. There as six known species of this palm that thrive from Panama, to Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.
Often it is referred to as “eco-ivory” because it has the same characteristics of elephant ivory, as it can be carved very easily as well as dyed with different colors, and it is hard and unbreakable and can be polished beautifully.
The female palm is the one that bears the fruit, which falls from the trees and inside it holds usually 4 individual nuts. The immature fruit is usually sweet and soft, while the mature fruit has transformed into a harder that wood nut covered in a brown shell, which can later be used for multiple projects, like our tagua necklaces!
The second seed we often use is called pambil, and it is another palm from the Ecuadorian rain forest. This palm tree known scientifically as Iriartea deltoidea, which can grow between 20-35 meters tall and can be “easily recognized by the prominent bulge in the center of its trunk, and the stilt roots, which form a dense cone up to 1 m in diameter at the base.” It is also surrounded by a brown shell covering that can be removed and either left naturally as a cream color, or can be dyed as well.
This is the smallest of the seeds we use. It is pronounced ah-s-ah-ee, and it is found in the tropical Amazon rain forest. It has recently been popularized in the United States as a super food for its rich antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and you can find it in juices, body products and supplements.
It has also been used by indigenous tribes for centuries as one of their most important sources of daily nutrition, and has been cultivated also for building materials and artisan crafts using its palm leaves and seeds. It also mostly cultivated as a source for hearts of palm! Delicious.
But here at the Mushpa + Mensa studio, we use it as the third in the trio of our sustainable seed collection.
All of these seeds are free from petroleum based products like many conventional beads, and free from animal cruelty. They are harvested by local communities as a source of income, and their popularization in recent years has allowed for many of these communities to build themselves up from the sustainable sources that the tropical rain-forests of Ecuador provides.
Now that you have a better knowledge of our trio of seeds, take a look at our shop and see what inspires you!
Arepas, Pupusas, Gorditas. Different maize (or corn meal) patties made slightly different in many Latin American countries. Delicious either way you eat them. A food that is economical, and so versatile it can be stuffed with literally anything you could imagine, from eggs and avocados, to meats and of course, the classic, cheese…ohh quesito!
I decided to make Arepas once we started reaching the back row products in our kitchen cabinet. Somehow, we always end up getting the most creative when we have less resources. But I cannot complain. Even when we are low on food in the cabinets we often feel like our life is full of richness. Cheesy, I know, but true. And Cheesy is always good… as the recipe below will show you.
These Arepas were a simple recipe. Basic. Paired with cabbage salad, usually accompanying Salvadorean Pupusas. Here is the recipe. Go make them. Delicious. I used corn meal called P.A.N. This is what my mother gave me, and it is what I have read, the most commonly used corn meal.
For the Arepas:
2 1/2 cups of water 2 cups of PAN – Harina de maiz (pre-cooked corn meal) 1 teaspoon of salt. Oil vegan cheese for stuffing
Pour water and salt into a container. Mix well. Start pouring the corn meal slowly, while mixing. Make sure you don’t get any lumps! When all is mixed, knead the dough until it is smooth, and let rest for a few minutes (3-5 minutes).
Oil your pan, or griddle a little bit on medium to low heat. Place patties and fry them until they brown in one side, and then the next. About 5 minutes each side. The lower the heat, the better, as you want the water inside to dry out a bit. Ideally when you knock on one with a knife, it should sound hollow or like an echo. The lower the heat, the longer they will be on the pan.
Place them in an oven at 325 degrees and let them cook for about 10 more minutes.
Cut them open in half, and stuff with a small palm full of cheese. Veggies and Protein are also an option!
For the Curtido:
1/2 head cabbage, a carrot, and a yellow onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar/ maple syrup/ honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or Italian seasoning
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
You can use a bag of ready coleslaw as I did this time (excluded the onions). Mix all vegetables in a bowl. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl, and then pour over cabbage mix. You can let it rest for a few minutes, while you season the arepas, but 2 hours or evnn the day after rest will absorb the flavors the best.
This is such a special time in our American History, and I am proud to be alive in these times. The Women’s March on Washington is most likely going to go down in our history books as the start of another wave of feminism, and this time, WE WILL NOT STEP BACK.
Mushpa + Mensa were unable to hitch a ride to DC, and maybe all happened for a reason. We were meant to stay at our own city rally in Wilmington, NC. We stayed in our home town, made signs, and shouted, chanted, and participated in the Wilmington’s Sister Women’s March. What a phenomenal experience. Even more amazing was coming back home and seeing the pictures and videos of ALL THOSE WOMEN. Men and children also there supporting. Political figures, icons, celebrities, artists, and humans from all walks of life. All these little pink hats, all these powerful signs. So much to say, yet such unity in our voice. Despite the hiccups of what it means to be part of this march (Can a pro-lifer still be a feminist? Is there space for white woman oppression?) the energy was ONE.
I am so proud of all of us. This light inside me grows. The strength in me grows, and so does the motivation. We are awake, and ready to go.
Despite not being in Washington physically, our collective energy filled every corner of the world, from Berlin, to Paris, from London to Costa Rica. This is not an American movement. This is WORLD WIDE.
The internet has united us, and I have witnessed some amazing and moving moments from the Women’s March. Here a few favorites. I hope you play them, enjoy them, and let them fill you with hope, motivation, and furious energy to fight this culture of hate, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and darkness that has crept up to a mainstream platform.
Without further ado, press play, and may the force be with you.
“We too must stand united….if we fall into the trap of separating ourselves by our causes and our labels, then we will weaken our fight, and we will lose. But if we commit to what aligns us, if we stand together steadfast and determined, then we stand a chance at saving the soul of our country.” -America Ferrera
“I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth…We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty!” -Nina Donovan interpreted by Ashley Judd
“We are the people. We have people power, and we will use it…This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life. It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity, and remember: the constitution does not begin with “I the president”, it begins with “We the People.” So do not try to divide us…” -Gloria Steinem
The 4 things we need to do according to Michael Moore:
1. Call Congress every single day (1 rep in the house, 2 senators) 202-225-3121
2. JOIN A GROUP!
3. Form your own rapid response team: people that you will call, when we need to move fast. 10 people
4.Form regions of resistance. Blue states and cities. The country will follow your lead!
If you are anything like us, we can get real close to the time of whatever-it-may-be and then get what needs to be done, last minute style, done. Don’t get us wrong, we do it well under pressure. The Women’s March tomorrow is no different. We are going to wake up around 7AM to get our signs done to get out to our local Wilmington, NC Women’s March. I did some image research and quote digging and came up with 10 good sign suggestions off the World Wide Web.
We go high.
Your silence will not protect you.
“Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” Voltaire
“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” Audre Lorde
Woman’s place is in the resistance. (in reference to Carrie Fisher…Princess Leigh….Star Wars. You get it.)
I am stronger than fear.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker
Get your recycled pieces of boxes, cardboard, old sheets and get to creating. We will collectively be with every human at every women’s march tomorrow. We love you.
The main shirts that Mushpa + Mensa hand-print their original designs on is Alternative Apparel’s 100% organic collection, made from pesticide-free organic cotton.
Is Alternative’s cotton certified organic?
A: Yes. Anything in our line stating it is 100% Organic Cotton is certified organic cotton, produced pesticide-free. We keep copies of the organic certificates on file.
The dyes used to color Alternative Apparel’s pesticide-free organic cotton tees are low-impact dyes. Let’s breakdown this process called low-impact dying. A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals (like chrome, copper and zinc), or mordants (a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material).
Low-impact dyes are dyes with a higher than average absorption rate (70%-80%, depending on the color). This means less water is required in the rinse process and less dye runs off in the water; therefore, the dyes have a lower impact on the environment. Alternative Apparel also use a G2 Eco-Wash to finish garments which uses 60% less water and no chemicals.
Alternative Earth’s collection water washes with reclaimed water, the organic cotton is certified, biodegradable fabric softeners and natural enzymes for their super-soft finishes to make the best basics.
Alternative Apparel make their clothing from sustainable fabrics (currently 65% of the fabrics they use are eco-friendly, although they are working to increase this figure), with a transparent supply chain in officially audited factories.
Manufacturing: They have all the right policies against forced labor, child labor, abuse, and insufficient wages — and they work nearly as hard on keeping their clothing non-toxic. Their factories are frequently inspected to make sure their dying processes are toxin-free, and their wool is sourced from sustainable alpaca farms in Peru.
The first elements we consider when selecting a vendor is their ability to meet our social compliance standards and the quality of their products … Typically, there are only certain geographic areas of the world that can meet our production needs. We head to those areas and search for vendors that exceed our expectations and requirements. If a factory does not meet our social compliance standards from the very beginning, we don’t even consider them. After that, we base or search on the quality of the goods and the efficiency with which they can be produced.
Environment: Thirty percent of their sales are from the Alternative Earth line Mushpa + Mensa uses, which is made from organic cotton, low-impact dyes, energy-efficient facilities, and absolutely no toxic substances. A portion of their sales benefits a variety of environmental organizations and charities.
Philanthropy: Alternative donates to multitudes of different charities under their “Common Thread” program. For instance, like with STATE: Going Beyond the Bag. STATE Bags one-for-one model provides at-risk kids with a fully-stocked backpack every time someone purchases a bag. That means when you get an awesome bag, you support #GiveBackPack at the same time.
I saw Himalayan pink salt lamps around, but I never paid much attention to them. I just thought they were very 80’s looking and therefore I had no interest.
Then Mensa let me know the other day she would love to have one. She said that they were amazing and a cure for something possibly and maybe even everything! That sounded pretty amazing to me, so I put aesthetics on the back burner, and decided to do some research on these magical lamps. Here is what I have learned so far.
The first is science. There is science involved. I am not going to break down said science except to say, the Himalayan salt lamps are negative ion generators. Negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. They are created in nature by the effects of water, air, sunlight and the Earth’s inherent radiation.
Negatively charged ions are most prevalent in natural places and particularly the ocean or after a thunderstorm. We live next to the ocean, just think if we walked on the beach everyday, well it would cure Mensa’s allergies for one, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Second, word on the street is, it’s great to counteract electromagnetic radiation (a kind of radiation including visible light, radio waves, gamma rays, and X-rays, in which electric and magnetic fields vary simultaneously) and also prevents the build-up of static electricity! Which for one, means all the electromagnetic radiation attacking you from your tv, to your computer, to your phone, to your tablet, to every other electronic in your house, this coral colored salt rock lamp can combat. I’m going to need to pick up a few of these lamps it seems, to turn those positive ions from electronic equipment into negative ions. :] Also, remember don’t sleep with your phones, tablets, laptops in your room if you want a true chance to rejuvenated your overwhelmed temple. It’s unnecessary static.
Third, is health. These natural lamps supposedly boost blood flow, improve sleep, increase levels of serotonin in the brain, and calm allergy or asthma symptoms. What??? Here’s how this circle of life works, salt is hygroscopic (more science), which basically means these salt lamps absorb “dirty” water molecules from the air till saturated, then the salt literally traps dirt, pollen, microscopic mold, mildew, dust, pet dander and smoke particles which is within the water vapor. Once these airborne contaminants have been locked in the salt, clean water is re-released into the environment due to the heat from the lamp and thus it has a purifying effect on the air. Lastly, the salt is revitalized through drying of the lamp and then the process begins again.
Oh, and just for the record there are no Himalayan salt mines, all the salt for these lamps are from Pakistan or Poland. More trivia, they say table salt is rejected by your body, sea salt has some benefits, but that the Himalayan salts may help with digestion and lower blood pressure. It may be placebo, but if it works, just do it I say.
There are many other claims and studies you are free to research on your own. Science out of Berkley says negative ions help make your trachea bigger to breath better. What? I said it. ;] The sunset light the lamps emit may trigger something in your brain that helps you sleep better and so, so, so many other things. What if they are all true? All that for under $30 and it will make Mensa happy, I’m in.
The next day we were at the Cucalorus 10×10 Screening and CONNECT Presenters Party.
This was my last week and this is the film we made with our great team (Brianna Okamoto, Josh Stowe, Andy Nielsen, Hillary Scott). I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, the movie that is, but when you have a dream and are given an amazing opportunity you push through it all to get there.