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.

INFOGRAPHIC: A Look at Children Raised in the LGBT Community

The way we think about the typical American family has changed considerably over recent years. There are more older first-time parents now, as more people are choosing to wait until later in life to start a family due to career goals or financial strain, or a combination of both. There are also more blended families and stepparents who are playing an active role in the raising of children. But it was the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage earlier this year that not only legitimized countless families across the country, but also opened new pathways for LGBT people and couples so that more families can be formed.

There are some people who believe — and dedicate ample time, energy, and resources in attempts to convince other people to believe — that children raised in the LGBT community are somehow at a disadvantage compared to their peers raised by heterosexual parents. However, there is now ample evidence proving those allegations to be wholly inaccurate.

The infographic below busts some of the most common myths about children raised in the LGBT community.

Equal in Every Way
Presented By Growing Generations

It’s true that children of LGBT parents face unique challenges throughout their lives, but those challenges are not forced upon them by their parents. Furthermore, there are many factors that can make someone a less-than-ideal parent, but their sexual orientation or gender identity is not one of them.

Organize and Protect Your E-Life with the WD My Cloud Mirror #KEEPITCOMING

We’ve all been there before — we’re plugging away, working, fulfilling obligations, sharing the memories we’ve captured and cataloging the others away. It’s all very business as usual until suddenly, it isn’t. The computer crashes. Nothing was backed up. Everything is gone. I have been there a few times myself (because evidently it takes something happening more than once to teach me a lesson) and each time was devastating.

I have led an active e-life since I was a teenager, and I have been a blogger since before The Powers That Be came up with the term “blogger.” I have created, written, and managed numerous blogs, forums, and websites — Woman Tribune alone since 2008. That’s a long time, ripe with opportunity to lose a lot of important files, pictures, and data — and I did. Now, things are different, and the task of backing up your files has been completely revolutionized.

Do you remember when backing up your files meant dragging them over to a floppy disk for safe keeping? If only we knew back then that the future would bring us stylish 6-inch-tall white boxes capable of storing our entire e-life in just a few clicks. I’m talking about the WD My Cloud Mirror — a personal cloud with a built-in backup plan.

My Cloud Mirror

We all know and have come to rely on “the cloud.” We also have come to know its flaws and the security breaches that can come with utilizing it. What makes the My Cloud Mirror different is that it is your own personal cloud storage safely located in your own home.

The My Cloud Mirror comes with everything you need to start storing files in about five minutes. Plug it into your router and a power outlet, then head over to the website and follow the instructions for setting up and you’re done.

Whether you need to free up space on your phone, tablet, or computer, or just make sure everything on all of your devices is safe and sound should anything happen, the My Cloud Mirror can store all of your important files and memories away for safe keeping. Because it has a dual drive, not only do your important files get stored onto the drive, but everything is also copied onto a secondary backup for twice the protection. Hello, peace of mind!

My husband is a musician, and to keep his music files (which are ridiculously large) safe, he has taken to accumulating way too many hard drives. Talk about a headache when trying to find the right music file! With the My Cloud Mirror’s 4 terabytes of space, he can KEEPITCOMING™. What I love most about this personal cloud is that you can access your files from anywhere there’s an internet connection, so if you’re out of town and need a file on your computer back at home, if you’ve synced it up with your My Cloud Mirror, you can retrieve that file instantly. How cool is that?!

The My Cloud Mirror is available in 4 TB, 6 TB, and 8 TB, and comes with a 2-year limited warranty. It is compatible with Windows® 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 or Windows Vista®, Mac OS® X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks™, Mountain Lion™, Lion™, as well as DLNA®/UPnP® enabled devices.

My Cloud Mirror

Forget the public cloud! Be in control of your own data with the WD My Cloud Mirror, and get anywhere access to your important content stored safely at home.

Thank a Veteran in Your Life with a Great Clips Haircut

Now that Halloween has passed, there’s almost no time to catch our collective breath as we gear up for the string of holidays that will soon be upon us. In addition to giving thanks, as well as the birthday festivities that open and close this month in my family for myself and my grandmother, November also gives us the prime opportunity to acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate the veterans in our lives and communities with Veterans Day on November 11.

I have written about my family’s history of military service here before, and about the tremendous impact my aunt’s 26 years of service had on me as I grew up.

Aunt Jenn military awards

Witnessing my aunt’s accomplishments in the military over the years taught me to be strong and determined, to never back down from what I know is right, but also to remember to take care of myself.

If anyone has given me a thorough lesson on the importance of pampering in a woman’s life, it is my aunt. Every year for my birthday and Christmas, she packs up a great, big basket full of bath and body products, no doubt delightfully enabling my shameless addiction for all things smelly. It is because of these baskets that I cannot remember the last time when I didn’t have my pick of bubble bath, body wash, and bath fizzes when all I wanted in the world was to relax in a hot bath.

Another great way to pamper yourself is with a haircut. Whether you get your hair cut regularly to maintain a certain length or style, or let your hair grow for years and then go in to get several inches cut off at once, a great haircut can significantly improve how you feel about yourself, no matter who you are. So why not pass on that feeling of new-found confidence to a veteran or military serviceperson in your life?

For the third year in a row, Great Clips is thanking veterans and active military members for their service with the gift of a free haircut — and you can help!

Thank a Veteran with Great Clips

Active or retired military members get free haircuts or a free haircut card on November 11, and any customer who gets a haircut at Great Clips on November 11 receives a free haircut card to give to a veteran.

*Only veterans and active members of the military are eligible to redeem the free haircut card. Family members of said military members do not qualify.

Great Clips is the only major salon brand that offers customers a way to thank veterans in their lives. With more than 3,800 salons throughout the United States and Canada, they are the world’s largest salon brand and employ nearly 35,000 stylists. Great Clips is dedicated to improving the communities in which they operate, with a focus on philanthropic and volunteer activities.

Find your local Great Clips and make a haircut appointment for Veterans Day, November 11.

Do you have a veteran or active military member in your life whom you would give the free Great Clips haircut card to?

Creepy, Crawly, Crazy-Cool Halloween Party Inspiration

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

Of all the holidays, events, and special occasions we throw parties for, Halloween has got to be one of the most fun. There are so many spooky themes, characters, and ideas you can run with!

Whether you like blood and guts, eerie elegance, or cutesy gore for the kids, you’ll find it all in the story slideshow below — edible eyeballs, sweet spiders, oozing brains, cackling witches and their many concoctions, and more. Check out the story slideshow below for all of the Halloween party inspiration you will need.

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

Check out Creepy, Crawly, Crazy-Cool Halloween Parties

by Jillian Tohber Leslie at Mode

Feel Comfy and Confident with U by Kotex Lightdays Liners

One of my very best friends and I have an ongoing conversation about how much our bodies obviously hate us, as evidenced by the constant slew of shenanigans that pop up out of seemingly nowhere. While many things in a woman’s body begin to shift, change, wreak havoc, and fall apart on us as we get older, my most frequently complained about ailment still centers mostly around my menstrual cycle, and the many cruel jokes it plays on me. It’s a shame we don’t share the same sense of humor.

When it comes to that time of the month, I am a hot mess. I am irritable and cranky, while simultaneously emotionally needy; I’m just an uncomfortable cluster of contradictions. What surely doesn’t help matters — and the source for most of my menstruation-related stress — is that its timing has only become more erratic as I have gotten older and my body has continued to change. Naturally, this has made me more accident prone, which is frustrating, to say the least. In addition to making sure I am always, always packing extra pads and tampons with me wherever I go, especially if it is within the week leading up to my monthly visitor, I have also taken to using liners — a great little back-up plan to protect against surprises, leaks, and uncomfortable situations.

U by Kotex Lightdays Liners

U by Kotex offers a full line of feminine care products for periods including pads, liners, and tampons. Outstanding protection that keeps you one step ahead.

U by Kotex Curves Liners:
Get serious protection that’s perfect for lighter flow days and help protect your undies from unexpected surprises and last-minute spotting!

  • Bright bold colors and designs feel fun
  • Clean and comfy
  • Fits your undies, fits you
  • Cool patterns and colors help you escape boring period protection

U by Kotex Lightdays Liners:
Whether you need backup support or just want to feel fresh, these liners have you covered. Stay-in-place protection helps keep your liner comfortable and secure.

  • Ideal for light flow and tampon backup
  • Breathable cover with a soft and silky touch
  • Comfortably flexes with your body

U by Kotex Lightdays Liners

U by Kotex #BringComfyBack Contest

Lost that undie feeling? Get it back with U by Kotex liners — so comfy, they feel just like your undies.

To help spread the word (and love) about U by Kotex liners, they are kicking off the #BringComfyBack Contest!

U by Kotex #BringComfyBack Contest

Visit BringComfyBack.com and upload your creative pic or gif showcasing your best uncomfy face. Each month one lucky winner (judged based on originality, style, and LOL factor) will receive a $200 Urban Outfitters gift card, Go Pro Hero 3 white camera, $100 Sephora gift card, and U by Kotex products. The most creative “uncomfy” selfie will be awarded the grand prize — a trip to L.A. with a girlfriend, an exclusive U by Kotex photo shoot as their new social star, and $2,000 spending cash.

Want to try U by Kotex liners? Click here to snag a $1 off coupon!

Fix the World, Girls: Nonprofits Founded by Women

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

All around the world, there is hardship and suffering. There are moments of injustice and discrimination; countries at war are being ripped apart from the inside-out by greed and corruption; more and more families are trying to make ends meet under the poverty line. When you think about the human condition today, it is far too easy to get discouraged or for your outlook on the future to turn bleak. Sometimes we need a reminder of all the good that is being done here and around the world.

In times of change, conflict, and crisis, the women who founded the nonprofits we’ve rounded up below didn’t just wish for things to be different — they worked to create lasting change that is actively enriching and saving lives. Check out the slideshow below to learn how black and brown dolls are revolutionizing the way young girls of color see themselves, how survivors of human rights abuses are earning a living wage and uplifting their communities, what is being done to inspire more women to run for political office, and more.

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

Check out Fix the World, Girls: Nonprofits Founded by Women

by Woman Tribune at Mode

The Privilege of Back to School Season and Girls’ Education

All this week and last, kids have been steadily making their way back to school for another year of learning and growing as individuals. In our neck of the woods, the last of the summer stragglers will return to the classroom after Labor Day, thus completing this year’s transition from the lazy days of summer to early mornings, books, and homework.

When I was a kid, I anticipated going back to school. First day of school pictures captured my gap-toothed grin that couldn’t possibly get any wider as my hands clutched onto a brand new backpack and lunchbox. I liked going to school, and I liked learning new things. As I got older, my love for the school establishment diminished, but my hunger for knowledge stayed very much the same.

Whether I anticipated or dreaded heading back to school, one thing is abundantly clear as I look back on my school career now — I was lucky. I was lucky to have the opportunity to experience back to school season every year; to attend a school within walking distance of my home; to learn from wise teachers who took the responsibility of my impressionable brain seriously.

Many girls around the world are not as lucky as I have been. Today, there are an estimated 31 million primary-school-age girls who face daunting barriers that keep them from attending school and receiving an education. Though hungry to learn, these young girls face gender discrimination, the burden of being responsible for household chores, lack of access to transportation to get to the nearest school, or are forced to marry way too soon.

The state of girls’ education in the developing world is both shocking and humbling:

  • Keeping girls out of school sentences them to a life of poverty and poor health
  • Women earn 10-20% more for every year of school completed
  • Children of educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school
  • Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5
Laxmi Udaan Girls School
Josh Estey/CARE

CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls, is working to remove the barriers to education that are keeping millions of girls who are hungry to learn away from school. One of the ways in which they are succeeding is at the CARE-supported Udaan residential school in Hardoi, India, where girls like Laxmi Pal aren’t only creating art, but also history.

12-year-old Laxmi grew up believing that she did not belong in school. Instead, her days were filled with housework and looking after her younger siblings while her mother was away cleaning houses and her father struggled to find seasonal work on farms. In her rural farming village, girls typically marry and move out of their family’s home at 14. Laxmi became the only member of her immediate family to ever go to school when she began attending Udaan. Their program is giving adolescent girls who had either never been enrolled in school or were forced to drop out a second chance to learn through an accelerated bridge course. After, Laxmi and girls like her can be mainstreamed into a government school to continue their education.

Invest in a Girl’s Future

Education is an investment that pays off now and for generations to come. You can help CARE’s mission to eliminate barriers to education for millions of girls by purchasing a Gift of Lasting Change. Browse CARE’s catalog of back to school gifts to support their work in promoting girls’ education.

Some of the gifts you can give are:

  • $10 cash donation
  • School uniforms for 2 girls ($38)
  • 2 pairs of school shoes ($30)
  • Backpack and school starter kit ($26.10)
  • 3 feminine hygiene kits for teen girls ($30)
CARE girls education
CARE

This back to school season, help make a difference in the lives of girls around the world with CARE.

Top photo: Josh Estey/CARE

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

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