All posts by Holly VanWert

Holly is an intersectional feminist, cat enthusiast, gamer, and stress baker living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a longtime blogger, sporadic poet, and the founder and editor of Woman Tribune.

5 Fun Flower-Worthy Occasions in September

We all know the holidays in which flowers are the only acceptable form of gift. While these days are special and we can feel good about greeting our loved ones with a bouquet of beautiful flowers as a small token of our appreciation for everything they do, there are other unique occasions that hardly anyone thinks to celebrate the same way. Here are five out-of-the-box flower-worthy occasions coming up next month where a bouquet of flowers would certainly brighten up a family member or friend’s day.

National Courtesy Month

September is National Courtesy Month! It’s OK, we had no idea, either, but we can all use September as a way to help convince the pessimists of the world that common courtesy is indeed alive and well. We’re sure we can all agree that giving one of your favorite people a beautiful bouquet of flowers would certainly be seen as a courteous act.

Self Improvement Month

yellow rosesSeptember is also Self Improvement Month. If a friend or family member has been wanting to make a positive change in their lives, or mentioned trying something new that they haven’t gotten around to doing yet, give them a little token of encouragement to get started.

Grandparent’s Day

Grandparent’s Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, making this year’s Grandparent’s Day September 13. If you don’t visit your grandparents often enough, pick up a bouquet of flowers and drop by for a visit on this day — they’ve earned it.

National Women’s Friendship Day

Our female friends play such important roles in our lives, hopefully throughout the course of years. Do something special for your closest friends on September 20 to celebrate National Women’s Friendship Day. Maybe host an intimate dinner at home or go out to your favorite meeting spot — whatever you do, choosing a small bouquet for each of your girlfriends to show them how much you appreciate them being a rock for you when you’ve needed them will definitely be appreciated.

World Gratitude Day

September 21 is World Gratitude Day. Originated in Hawaii and celebrated since 1966, this is a day where flowers from Sydney could have a positive impact on someone day. World Gratitude Day centers around the notion that we are happier people when we take the time reflect on the amazing things we are privileged enough to have in our lives. Share your appreciation for all that is good in your life on World Gratitude Day with a bouquet for someone who has consistently made your life better.

Personality-Packed Potting Benches for Your Fall Garden

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

potting benches

With fall just around the corner, we’re really starting to look forward to all the things the season of change brings with it, most notably across the landscape. Fall is the most visually stunning season of them all, especially here in Northeast Pennsylvania. So as we patiently wait for the leaves to begin to shift and fall into a blanket of reds, oranges, and yellows, we have grown a little obsessed with scoping out inspiration for fall gardens and rustic outdoor spaces. Marveling at the spaces that have been meticulously set up by some particularly crafty and clever people is awe-inspiring. We can’t get enough of this home decor porn! One detail we have seen featured and immediately fell in love with is the potting bench.

Potting benches are a versatile, decorative workspace that make it easy to organize and elevate your outdoor space. In a recent collaboration with MODE, we rounded up some choice potting benches that would make a perfect addition to anyone’s fall garden.

Note: If you are running an ad blocker, you will need to disable it to see the slideshow.

Check out Personality-Packed Potting Benches for Your Fall Garden

by Woman Tribune at Mode

Maff Releases Brooding Video Single from Debut EP

If you’ve heard and enjoyed the eclectic sounds of Interpol, Pavement, or Dinosaur Jr., you’re really going to get into Maff — the 4-piece alternative rock band from Chile.

After releasing their debut 8-track EP last month, Santiago’s Maff continue to blaze a marked trail through the world of shoegaze, alternative rock, noise pop, and grunge-tainted indie rock laced with electronica (ain’t that a mouthful). Now, the quartet is presenting their first single and debut video for “Act 1,” a dark, brooding instrumental piece that strikingly differs from their other original songs, easing the listener in before jumping into the mosh pit for the remainder of the EP.

The video for “Act 1” was created by Pennsylvania filmmaker Tim Busko, who explains, “Some of the footage for ‘Act 1’ was cannibalized from my experimental film ‘Space Thing’ (2004); the remainder was pulled from aborted projects and experiments. While editing, it reminded me of the fragmented nature of dreams and old memories.”

Maff, whose main influences include The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pixies, Ride, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, is clearly having a beautifully combined love affair with guitar pedals and synth, arousing sensations ranging from revolution-bent to melancholic and even romantic at times.

Maff EP


Maff EP
July 18, 2015

Maff was originally founded in 2012 by Ricardo (Richi) Gómez (Vocals/Bass/Guitar) and Nicolás (Nek) Colombres (Drums), who have been friends since childhood and have previously played together in various punk rock bands. They were later joined by Martín Colombres (Guitar) and Gonzalo (Talo) Correa (Guitar/Bass/Vocals/Synth). Maff composed, recorded, and produced their eponymous EP in their own studio, lovingly called “The Lab” owing to the experimental output they concocted there. This album explores such themes as innocence, mysticism, true love, loss, drugs, freedom, and timelessness.

“After 15 years of personally searching and making music, each band member came to encounter an inflexion point in their lives called Maff,” says Richi Gómez, founding member of Maff. “Maff is about serving music that liberates us from all our prior misconceptions,” explains bandmate Talo Correa.

The Maff EP is available now, and the band’s second CD release celebration will take place tomorrow, August 18, at Santiago’s MIBAR (Av. Santa Isabel 0350 – Barrio Italia).

Website: Maff
Facebook: Maff
Twitter: @maffmusica

Staying Active and Energized with Yoplait Plenti Yogurt

Maintaining an active lifestyle is hard work. While there are many healthy living writers and experts out there who will happily maintain that there is no better way to start the day than with a rigorous workout routine, that has never been me. No, when I embark on a several-mile-long walk/jog, dare to hop on a mountain bike and will my legs to pedal enough to make it uphill, or trudge through a new workout, you can be certain that a lengthy pep talk immediately preceded me finally deciding that maybe doing something good for my overall health and well-being wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Motivation is fickle, but one of the best lessons I have learned over the last few years is that it is when you struggle to get started that you most likely need to do it anyway. So I take that walk, get on that bike, go that extra mile, or do that round of squats — and I make sure my body has what it needs to bring me through it.

Food is fuel, and while fresh fruits and veggies are great for you, getting enough protein can often be overlooked. As your body builds and breaks down muscle, it needs protein in order to build them back up again. Lately, I have been getting the extra boost of protein my body craves at snack time with new Yoplait Plenti yogurt.

Plenti yogurt

Plenti is a new Greek yogurt with plenty of good stuff (ha ha, get it?) mixed right in. Gluten free and packed full of whole grain oats, flax, and pumpkin seeds, it is a wholesome, high-protein snack that keeps my energy high when I need it most. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have been on one of our epic treks through the woods around our neighborhood, miles away from our house, only to have my mood suddenly regress to a toddler’s — I’m hungry, I’m tired, can we go home now? Not only does it put a serious damper on the good time we could be having together (not to mention the fact that an internal pep talk was probably needed in order to get me to agree to a several-mile-long trek through the woods), but I get really irritable when I’m hungry or don’t have the energy I should, and who has time for that?

Plenti yogurt

What I like most about new Yoplait Plenti yogurt is its texture. I love yogurt, but I am not typically a fan of Greek yogurt due to what I have experienced to be a very grainy texture. I am very texture-oriented when it comes to any and all foods I eat, and up until trying Plenti I thought I disliked all Greek yogurt. In fact, I fully anticipated to take one bite of this and hand it off to my husband to finish. But because of the goodness mixed into Plenti, the texture was more layered and not the least bit grainy. This was the first cup of Greek yogurt I started and finished. Bravo, Yoplait!

By putting more in, Plenti helps you get more out — a more substantial snack with nutritional benefits so that you have more energy to do more things that will make your happy (or make you happy in the long run).

Plenti yogurt

Plenti yogurt

You can try Yoplait Plenti in eight delicious flavors: Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry, Black Cherry, Raspberry, Peach, Coconut, and Spiced Apple. Find a store near you and follow Plenti on Instagram!

How do you keep your energy up to make it through a busy day?

Monday Morning Tunes: Treetop Flyers, Frank Turner, Peter and Kerry

Treetop Flyers Frank Turner Peter and Kerry

This summer has easily been one of our busiest, and instead of seeking out new artists or escaping into full albums as usual, my go-to music sources in the last few weeks have been Spotify playlists chosen at random and Pandora internet radio; just a few songs here and there while running errands or picking up a few things around the house before our guests show up for another family cookout.

Rather than dedicating a post to spotlighting a great new band or singer/songwriter I’ve just discovered, I have three songs from three different bands I have heard, loved, and subsequently saved to listen to again and again. And now I’m sharing them with you. In a funny (and unintended!) turn of events, all three of these artists are from and based out of England.

Treetop Flyers

Formed in 2009 by a group of friends who met through playing in various bands in and around London, Treetop Flyers’ brand of folk rock won them the Glastonbury Festival emerging talent competition in 2011. The track “It’s About Time” was released on their 2009 album “To Bury the Past.”

Website: Treetop Flyers
Facebook: Treetop Flyers Band
Twitter: @treetopflyers

Frank Turner

An English folk singer/songwriter from Meonstoke, Hampshire. Initially the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, Turner embarked upon a primarily acoustic-based solo career following the band’s split in 2005. “Wessex Boy” was released on his 2011 album “England Keep My Bones.”

Website: Frank Turner
Facebook: Frank Turner Music
Twitter: @frankturner

Peter and Kerry

Some twee synth indie pop from one Brainfeeder collaborator and one composer of ballet scores. “Knees” was released on the 2011 “Clothes, Friends, Photos” EP.

Facebook: Peter and Kerry
Twitter: @peterandkerry

The Ins and Outs of Buying Your First Home #infographic

buying your first home

There’s not much more many of us can hope for than getting to live our lives in the forefront of our dream homes. Unfortunately, dream homes rarely come with a dream price, and many real estate and financial experts can attest to the fact that while in search for the space that they will live, love, and grow in, many first-time home buyers wind up making some very costly mistakes.

The first step to buying a home is being prepared. What should your credit score be in order to secure a home loan at the best rate, and how can you take steps to raise your credit score before applying? How much should you put down on a house, and would a higher down payment position you and your family better in the long run?

While the logistics of buying your first home may not be as exciting as going to look at houses and trying to imagine what your family would look like in it, doing your research will help you avoid common mistakes and spending more money than you have to.

Check out the infographic below for some valuable insight for first-time home buyers that will get you into the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

buying your first home infographic
Click to enlarge in new window

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Comic-Con Reel

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

In case you missed it, fans at San Diego Comic-Con were treated to a special look behind-the-scenes of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by Director J.J. Abrams, Producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and Writer Lawrence Kasdan. You can watch the behind-the-scenes reel below:

In Comic-Con’s Hall H, the filmmakers were joined on stage by cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie. To the surprise and delight of fans, “Star Wars” alum cast members returning for “The Force Awakens” Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were also seated on the panel to talk all things “Star Wars.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Comic-Con goers were in for a truly spectacular treat as part of the “Star Wars” panel. At the end of the Hall H presentation, the entire audience of more than 6,000 fans were invited to continue the celebration. They joined the cast and filmmakers at a surprise fan concert where the San Diego Symphony performed the classic “Star Wars” music from John Williams at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Panel At San Diego Comic Con - Comic-Con International 2015
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” arrives in theaters everywhere on December 18.

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser Review and Prize Pack Giveaway [Closed]

This review was created in partnership with eAccountable and contains affiliate links. I received Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser for review and opinions are my own.

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser

As my interest in and love for cosmetics has not only continued to grow, but morph into an addiction/hoarding situation (fueled mostly by my ipsy subscription), I have really had to step up my cleansing game.

We all know that not properly taking off your makeup before bed every night or following a daily skincare regimen can damage your skin and age you prematurely. As a late-comer to the beauty scene, having really only gotten into experimenting with my daily beauty look in the last couple of years, I have never had a go-to facial cleanser that I’ve been loyal to for years. I’m basically navigating through products in the dark right now, ready to try anything in hopes of someday finding that one product I can say has worked for me. So when I was asked if I would be interested in trying out Planet Beach’s Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser, I don’t have to tell you how fast I jumped on that.

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser info

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser open

Planet Beach Cleanse is a pH balanced herbal facial cleansing gel for all skin types, formulated to penetrate the pores to deeply cleanse and protect skin from bacteria and fungus. With key ingredients aloe vera extract, white oak bark extract, sodium, beta carotene, and collagen, it works as an overall cleanser and astringent that can help tighten the skin without drying it out.

In addition to being labeled as enriched with organic ingredients, I really liked seeing that Planet Beach does not test on animals.

Each morning and night, I used a nickel-sized amount of cleanser on my face and neck. The thin, pink liquid, while boasting a natural key ingredient list, smells kind of chemical-y, but after just the first time I used it I couldn’t believe how soft and smooth my skin felt. It adequately removed my daily makeup, though like most other standard cleansers, it did fail to remove all of my mascara. Overall, my skin felt clean, softer than I have ever felt it before, and it was really impressive. And then I began to break out. At first it was just a single new blemish and I didn’t think much of it. After another couple of days, I had some more. After almost two weeks of using Cleanse twice daily, I have a chin and jaw speckled with straight-up acne.

My fickle skin is well-documented. Even a product I’ve used without incident for a while can suddenly start to cause chaos with whatever is going on with my skin. At this point I can never be sure exactly what is causing a specific skin-related issue, but I can confidently say that as far as my daily skincare regimen goes, I have only used Cleanse along with a light moisturizer, aside from my daily makeup that I always remove every night before bed, in order to facilitate this review as accurately as I possibly could.

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser didn’t work out as well as I thought it would, and I’m still searching for that tried and true cleanser that will keep my acne-prone skin under control in the long-term. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still get use out of the cleanser I have left.

While marketed as a facial cleanser, Planet Beach Cleanse can be utilized for a myriad of other personal uses in areas that aren’t so acne-prone. Because it is a pH balanced general cleanser, it can be used as a feminine wash and liquid body wash, flushing away excess oils, waste from perspiration, soot, smog residue and other air pollutants, perfumes, and high fragrance products. It can also be used as a bubble bath and gentle shaving gel.

Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser

You can get Planet Beach Cleanse Herbal Facial Cleanser at for $31.

Planet Beach Prize Pack Giveaway

Planet Beach is finishing out July on a high note for their followers, giving away an awesome prize pack valued at over $100. To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end July 31 and is sponsored and fulfilled by Planet Beach.

Perfecting Your Space: Inspiration for Your Dream Backyard #infographic

backyard inspiration infographic

When my husband and I bought our home, to say that we were ecstatic to finally have a backyard to call our own would be an understatement. We had been living in small apartments with no outdoor space for years, and before that I grew up in a house without a yard. So when I thought about the kind of house I would want to buy and potentially live in for the rest of my life, green space was a must-have I wasn’t willing to compromise on.

Having a big backyard comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work, but I think the benefits outweigh the exhaustion. We got lucky, as our backyard already had an above-ground pool in great condition, and our house quickly became the place to be for our family and friends who wanted to escape the busy city and kick back for a while. Our backyard works for us, and because we spend so much time outside during the warmer months, we take on a project (or two) a year so that it continues to meet our needs. Last year, we extended our driveway and had concrete put down and my husband and his father built a big deck right off the back of our house that has become the focal point and place to hang out during the several parties we host every year. This year, we added awnings to the deck for protection from the sun and rain so that we can spend even more time outdoors enjoying our little slice of nature.

No matter what you like to do or where your passions lie, your outdoor space should work for you, but it can be difficult to figure out exactly what to do in order to create the backyard you’ve always dreamed of. Take a look at the flow chart below for inspiration to help you reinvent and redesign your outdoor space. It is full of fun ideas for your dream backyard!

Perfecting your Outdoor Space
Click to enlarge in new window

So You’re Ready to Start a Family: 3 Steps to Set the Stage for Conception

Deciding to start a family, or add a new bundle of joy to your already bustling brood, is a truly unique process. No one arrives at the destination of ‘Parenthood’ in exactly the same way. For some, it isn’t even a question — having a family is something that they had always envisioned for their lives; for others, it can be a little more complicated. Whether you’ve always wanted to be a mom and now is the time to try and make your dreams a reality, or baby fever snuck up on you with age, deciding to get pregnant and bring a baby into the world is life-changing, and so is making the adjustment to ready your body for pregnancy.

Some would like you to believe that getting pregnant is as easy as getting busy as usual and realizing your period is late the following month, and once you’ve started telling people that you’re trying to get pregnant these stories and anecdotes will only multiply. But for women who have been trying to conceive for months or even years, this is literally the last thing they want to hear. Trying to conceive can be time-consuming and stressful, so before you begin trying for that new family member, here are three steps to setting the stage for conception. We hope they help on your journey to becoming a new parent.

Get Healthy

A healthy body is ideal for a healthy pregnancy, so make sure you are taking care of your overall health and wellness.

  • Get 8 hours of restful sleep every night.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals that contain enough key nutrients — zinc, folic acid, calcium, and vitamins C and D.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s just a walk around your neighborhood.
  • Reduce your stress — we know, this one can be particularly difficult, but it is possible! Getting enough sleep and regular exercise will naturally reduce your stress levels, but also try taking an hour a day just for yourself and do something you enjoy, cut down your self-imposed to-do list (we all have them), try not to take on new projects that you know will result in a bundle of nerves, and avoid hotly debated topics and conversations, especially online, for starters.
  • Schedule an appointment with your primary physician for an overall wellness checkup, especially if you have not had a checkup in the last year.
  • Schedule another appointment with your gynecologist for a women’s health checkup, and let them know that you are actively trying to conceive. They may have tips for increasing your chances, or if you are having trouble conceiving, they can point you in the right direction as to when and how to seek fertility testing.

Know Your Cycle

Any woman who is trying to get pregnant should be aware of her body and menstrual cycle. Not every woman has the classic 28-day cycle, and when trying to conceive, timing is everything. Knowing when you menstruate, ovulate, and any history of deviations in your cycle will help considerably in knowing when you can get pregnant.

If you don’t already, you should start tracking your menstrual cycle for at least three months before trying to conceive. This will give you a solid foundation of knowing when your most fertile time of the month is. For a foolproof way to track your cycle, try apps!

There are countless — seriously, countless! — period, ovulation, and fertility tracker apps out there. We have found some of the highest-rated for both Apple and Android to get you started:

  • Lily: A personal, private period and cycle tracker, and fertility and ovulation calculator [Available for Apple]
  • Ovia Fertility: Ovulation and period tracker [Available for Apple]
  • My Days: Period and ovulation tracker [Available for Apple and Android]
  • Period Calendar: Menstrual cycle and ovulation tracker [Available for Android]
  • OvuView: Ovulation and fertility tracker [Available for Android]

Have Fun

Connecting with your spouse or partner is supposed to be fun, but it’s common to lose sight of that when you’ve been trying to conceive for more than a few months. When you become frustrated and stressed, it’s easy to start treating getting pregnant like a job; not only that, but a job you’re failing miserably at. It can also put added stress on your partner and begin eating away at your relationship.

When you sense you’re going down this slippery slope, take a step back and remember that this is supposed to be a happy time. You and your partner are on this journey together, and truly connecting with one another, emotionally as well as physically, should be priority number one. Give yourself permission to relax and have fun together. Go out on a date night, or stay home and make a romantic meal together and surprise your partner with lingerie they may have not seen in a while. It’s these little things that foster a happy, healthy, and loving relationship — and makes for great parents. Plus, leaving your stress at the door will help your overall health and wellness like we talked about earlier. It’s a win/win for everyone, really!

Once you’re nice and relaxed, reach for new Astroglide TTC Trying to Conceive™, a specially formulated personal lubricant for couples who are trying to conceive.

Astroglide TTC

When you are trying to conceive, you are most likely focusing on having more sexual activity than usual. In fact, some fertility experts and doctors recommend trying every other day to ensure that healthy sperm are available for an egg during ovulation. Astroglide TTC™ temporarily relieves vaginal dryness during intercourse while supporting fertility with adjusted pH levels, compatible osmolality, and a consistency similar to your body’s cervical mucus.

How Astroglide TTC™ Works:

  • By providing an ideal environment where sperm has a chance of survival. Environmental conditions are affected by pH levels, osmolality (the concentration of substances like sodium and potassium), and the consistency of egg white cervical mucus. While traditional lubricants may affect these conditions and inhibit sperm mobility, studies have shown that Astroglide TTC™ is compatible with sperm, oocytes, and embryos, and allows sperm to move freely.
  • TTC™ is specially formulated to contain galactose, which is found naturally in semen, as well as fructose, the main source of energy for sperm.

Each box of Astroglide TTC™ contains 8 pre-filled disposable applicators that make it easy to coat the inside of the vagina, supplementing natural fluids and enhancing comfort.

If you have tried Astroglide TTC™, share your testimonial. If you haven’t yet tried it, click here to find Astroglide TTC™ at a store near you.

Astroglide TTC™ sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine