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THE LANDWHALE BOOK TOUR!



There are no words to fully explain how thrilled I am to announce that the Landwhale BOOK TOUR IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING! It's not only happening, but it's also going to be fucking incredible

This tour was nothing more than a dream a few months ago and now that dream has come true... all thanks to Dia & Co. These rad plus babes have been SO supportive of my work for years (we also did a fun Q&A here if you'd like to take a look) and when they signed on in support of making this tour happen I danced around my house for a solid hour. True story. (I also cried tears of happiness if we're going to be completely honest.)

There are seven stops in total, with the first being a launch party in Tucson and then I'll be making my way around the states and here's the best part: I'm going to be joined by brilliant, bad-ass, fat babes at each location and there will not only be a stellar panel conversation about topics covered in Landwhale but the opportunity for you all to ask questions and then have your books signed with a big fat hug afterwards if you're into that kind of thing!

For details on who will be there and to RSVP (I can't wait to see you!), just click on your cities link and let me know you're coming! You can also find all this information and more about the book on the Landwhale website.

May 8th | Tucson, AZ
May 11th | Raleigh, NC
May 16th | Seattle, WA
May 17th | Portland, OR
May 24th | Los Angeles, CA
May 29th | Cleveland, OH
BUT WAIT! Did you know: Limited edition Landwhale pins are available RIGHT NOW for purchase? Join the hundreds of other pin owners who are reclaiming the coolest creature ever with this adorable pin! Landwhales UNITE!

I can't wait to hear your stories, talk about some really important subjects and party HARD with you all!

SEE YOU SOON!

P.S. You can pre-order the book NOW if you'd like! Just click here!
P.P.S. You can also sign up for my newsletter and then rest easy, knowing that you'll never miss another goddamn thing!
P.P.P.S. Did you read Landwhale and love it? I'd be honored if you shared some of that love and leave a review on Amazon so more hearts and hands can read it too!

MY BEAUTIFUL, BORDERLINE MIND // SAM DYLAN FINCH

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Not too long ago, I wrote an article about the misconceptions around borderline personality disorder.
“I reject the idea that people with BPD aren’t deserving of competent care and compassion that would allow them to thrive,” I wrote, “and if we dismiss them as being irredeemable, that support becomes more difficult to access.”
Writing that piece was painful. Recalling the ways that people misconstrue my struggles was a deeply emotional process for me.
It also brought to light the very real stigma that still exists around BPD.
I started getting emails.
“My husband has borderline, but he’s horrible,” someone writes. “How can I get him to be more self-aware like you?” (This is almost, word-for-word, a message I received.)
“My partner with BPD is crazy, she’s too much,” someone explains. “What pills are you taking? Do you think that they’ll make her normal?”
This wasn’t the first time I was being held up as some kind of psychiatric achievement. Sometimes even my clinicians viewed me this way. “Most people with borderline aren’t like you,” a clinician told me recently. When I asked what that meant, he told me, “Most of them are just… flailing around, deeply unstable.”
Flailing around. That’s what most people think. Even our clinicians believe we’re chaos embodied, helpless, disturbed.
And thus I was propped up as an ideal. I was the repentant borderline, the good borderline. The more I was perceived as distancing myself from the disorder, the more people applauded me.
This is because the borderline that the world likes the most is the “reformed” borderline — the one that will apologize for being too much, will cut themselves down to be accepted, be neurotic in “acceptable” and small doses, and most of all, disavow any and all traces of the disorder.
In other words, the self-hating borderline is the one that the world loves the most.
It’s an uncomfortable truth, then, when I tell people that I don’t really hate my borderline mind. For all the hell it’s given me — and by extension, the folks who’ve supported me in my recovery — BPD has given me a beautiful intensity that I appreciate.
The world asks me to reject my borderline mind, looking for some symbolic gesture to demonstrate that I hate myself as much as they hate people like me.
In me, they see the redemption of their “crazy” spouse, their unhinged mother, their unruly child.
Every time I apologize for my existence, they are comforted knowing that they don’t have to learn to love someone with borderline — they can wait for the day when their loved one with borderline finally hates themselves enough to be someone else, or hates themselves enough to die.
But there are parts of me that I so deeply love — parts of me that wouldn’t exist if BPD weren’t a part of me, too.
And so long as we view people with borderline in such a reductive way, we fail to appreciate what’s possible for people with BPD. We demand that they erase themselves or punish themselves, rather than coming into their own, realizing themselves fully, and perhaps even learning to love themselves.
It’s devastating to think that, as we characterize people with BPD as abusers that need to repent or as irredeemably lost, we create a culture that denies people with BPD the possibility of authentic healing and self-love.
In the process of my own healing, I’ve realized that BPD is not just a source of trauma, but in some ways, it’s been a source of unique strength.
That’s the conversation that’s missing. That’s the conversation I’m longing for, waiting for.
The love that I’m capable of feeling for others, when it’s no longer fueled by fear, is a remarkable thing. My capacity for seeing the best in others, my ability to love deeply and fully, my sense of connectedness to the folks that I care about — these are things I would never change, so long as it comes from a healthy and secure place.
While I can be reactive, my sensitivity allows me to tune in deeply to the feelings of others. My firsthand experiences of pain allow me to make intense and empathic connections to others who might be suffering. And knowing what it’s like to be left behind, the loyalty that I possess makes me a reliable and caring friend.
What people with BPD need isn’t the greatest possible distance from themselves and from their disorder. What they need is security, healthy attachments, support, and genuine safety, so that they can become someone that they’re happy to be.
My borderline mind can be frightening and self-destructive. Ask anyone who was along for the ride this last year (when I was hospitalized not once but twice) and they’ll tell you as much.
But this mind also has a capacity for intense love, connection, and empathy — a potential that’s so often ignored or missed in people with BPD because of a stigma that leaves no room for us to grow.
For me personally, living with borderline has been retraining my brain to recognize when I am safe, after having lived for many years without protection in the face of complex trauma and PTSD. It’s been a process, too, to create the safety that I lacked for so long, and to trust in it when I have it.
It’s also been important to understand that safety doesn’t have to come in the form of support from others — it’s safety I can create for myself.
But that’s a realization I never would’ve come to if I’d listened to the stigma that told me that having BPD meant I was inherently bad, spiteful, or dangerous, teaching me to fear myself rather than be kind to myself.
Nothing about this process has been “flailing around,” as a clinician once said — it’s been a desperate search to regain the safety I’d been denied. And nothing about that process has been “manipulative,” either. Any misdirection to meet my needs, especially during a struggle I wasn’t prepared for and never asked for, was an act of survival, however flawed or unskillful.
My borderline mind has embedded in it a propensity for chaos that I won’t deny, but just the same, it gives me an incomparable ability to love and be loved. I have a sensitivity that keeps me deeply engaged with my world, a vulnerability that gives me immense integrity and strength, and an intensity that makes me creative and dynamic and alive.
And with the right support, I’ve been able to nurture that empathy and depth in incredible, unexpected ways.
I don’t believe that a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is a statement of finality, of futility, of hopelessness, and I resent any suggestion that it is. I think for many, it can be an opportunity — a chance to grow, and to take everything we were taught to fear, and find the strengths hiding just underneath.
I wouldn’t be who I am without BPD. And I’m tired of the world demanding that I be anybody else.
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Sam Dylan Finch is a queer writer, media strategist, and unapologetic feminist.

Sam is perhaps best known for his platform Let’s Queer Things Up!, a blog navigating the complexities of queerness and disability. Sam currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he can often be found dancing to embarrassing pop music and plotting for the imminent queer takeover (shhh, we’ve already said too much).

You can find Sam on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and you can also support his AMAZING writing by signing up for his Patreon.

CATS, CACTI AND COMFY BEDS FOR FAT BABES!


One of the items on my Drunken Gin Rummy Goals list was to overhaul my room and yes, it needed to be a total overhaul.

Partially to stop my friend Allison from sniggering every time she came in and saw the miniature pathway carved out of the trash and clothing from the door to the bed, partially because I haven't been able to find a specific piece of clothing in under 15 minutes because rooting around in a mountain of clothes has been my life for years and partially because I'm finally 31 and apparently this is the time in my life where my body is teaching me that I need quality sleep in a relaxing room (with a real bed- not a futon like my 20-year-old self thought was sufficient) if I'm going to stay sane during the daylight hours.

So, the piles of garbage, mountains of cat hair covered, black (after a few months- they turned a very special shade of what I call "feline grey"- it sounds classier than "hairy dander grey") clothing on the floor and backbreaking (and to be fair, we also broke our fair share of it) generic mattress... they all had to go.

Enter: my first ever thoughtfully planned out and executed grown-up bedroom.




HOW FUCKING CUTE IS THAT COMFORTER COVERED IN CATS AND CACTI, BY THE WAY?

I've honestly never had a room this intentional and clean. Ever. My mom, siblings, roommates, and all live-in partners will all passionately (with perhaps a glimmer of revulsion in their eyes) back me up on this.

It's been a long time coming.

In hindsight, I wish I took "before pictures" so you can see what an accomplishment this really is but just know that we filled the entire bed of a truck with garbage and old broken shit that no longer lives in our bedroom. It was quite the accomplishment.


Towards the end of last year, a specialty mattress company named Big Fig contacted me with essentially this pitch: "HEY JES! All your fat friends really love our beds and they're made specifically for big babes which literally didn't exist on the market until now but is really important because you deserve to get more than three years out of a bed and we want to send you one as a present! What do you think?"

My email reply said: "Uhm, FUCK. YES?"

Essentially anyways.

Remember what I mentioned about learning that quality sleep is necessary for me to survive? Well, I didn't need any more convincing to have a bed shipped (P.S. how adult-ey is to have furniture shipped?!? I'm so used to strapping things on cars and praying for the best) over to my house a few months later.

While waiting, I started dreaming of my ideal room decor and if you know anything about yours truly... cats and cacti summarize my aesthetic within two words.

What you may not be aware of however is that my first three years of university were as an Interior Design major... and I was good at it. Like, class representative for the American Society of Interior Designers good. And while I decided that helping people choose which rug they'd most like to spend a thousand dollars on wasn't my jam (and this room is as minimalistic as they come because: clutter be gone forever plz!), I've never lost my love of making spaces feel happy.

Combine that love with an addiction to Amazon Prime (I love ordering things from my phone while I fall asleep so don't judge, okay?) and, well... TA-DA HERE'S MY NEW BEDROOM GUYS!

Links, just in case you want a cheery room full of cats + cacti too:




1Cat pillow (+ dog options too!) | 2: Kitten pillow (doesn't shed!) | 3Analog clock 
4Cats and Cacti Duvet cover (I mean, there are sloths + cacti as well so GO HAVE FUN!)
5Cacti candle set  | 6Saguaro lamp 7: Potted succulents (no water needed!)
8Multi-season duvet  | 9Olive bed skirt 10Grey fitted sheet | 11Dark green pillowcases
12Bedside tables (I chose the least expensive option and then spraypainted them white!)  


Real cats aren't included, unfortunately. Those cost a little extra and require a lot of work though I would personally recommend 10/10.






So this bedguys.

I could easily write a passionate 900-word essay and try to sell you this bed really hard right now, but I don't want to.... and to be honest, I don't think I even need to.

Here's what you need to know: it's made for 1000 pounds and will last.  They worked on the sagging, the temperature issues, the durability, the normal weak foundation that usually comes with regular beds... and they fixed all of it. The first night had us cursing the Amish (though their craftsmanship is unparalleled) because we were so accustomed to our older sagging mattress, but a memory foam cover for a couple weeks until the mattress was "broken in" made all the difference.

Yes, we now moan with happy exhaustion everytime we climb into bed at the end of the day. Yes, I'm so grateful to have something as luxurious as a bed made for me. AND YES, IT IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE FOR FAT SEX. I know some of you are wondering and you definitely deserve to know.

Fat sex. This bed. Match made in heaven.



And of course, I had to jump on the bed to see if it would actually hold up because I haven't felt safe jumping on a bed since I hit puberty.


I would like to report back that it HELD HELD UP FAMOUSLY!

I'm now going to push the post button and climb back on top that beautiful mattressy masterpiece and watch some Netflix because after all that room cleansing + purging I damn well deserve it.

Have you tried Big Fig? Have you ever heard of them? Did you that Ushshi is currently spotlighted as a SLEEPING ANGEL on their front page right now? What would your ideal bedroom include? ARE YOU AS INTO CATS, CACTI AND COMFORT AS I AM?!?!?

I wanna know!

CURRENT CRUSH: SONYA RENEE TAYLOR

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How do you accurately summarize the one person who you feel has single-handedly changed the world (and your personal life) in more ways than you can explain?

Sonya Renee Taylor: author, poet, spoken word artist, speaker, humanitarian and social justice activist, educator, and founder of The Body is Not An Apology movement. 

"Taylor has won multiple National and International poetry slams, including the 2004 U.S. National Individual Poetry Slam competition, the 2005 DC/Baltimore Grand Slam competition, the 2007 Ill List III Slam competition, the 2006 Four Continents International Slam competition and has performed for audiences across the US, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands, including in prisons, mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, universities, festivals and public schools across the globe."

Sonya Renee Taylor, aka my favorite human on the planet.


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While looking for incredible quotes written by Sonya, I came across this praise (but really, a love letter) I wrote years ago:

Sonya Renee Taylor’s work within the body acceptance movement has single-handedly changed my life as an activist. Sonya is one of the only voices in this movement that incorporates ALL bodies and ALL issues; bringing the focus beyond individuals and onto the fact that we can eliminate prominent toxic social injustices by incorporating inclusion, understanding and love. She is truly a force to be reckoned with and thanked for her priceless contributions towards radical change.

Years later, I stand behind this 100%.

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To be totally honest, the "current" part of this Current Crush is a lie. I've known Sonya for half a decade and she has been changing my world before we even met in person. The crush part? Well, it couldn't be truer. The love between us is deep... and there's a damn good reason.

I quote her with reverence in every lecture, panel, workshop, and presentation I give or participate in. Every single one- whether it's through a presentation in Phoenix (below) or in a keynote lecture about fatphobia in Paris. Her work has formed the core of my mission and the amount of gratitude I feel for her messaging, writing, and work leaves me speechless at times.



For the past few years, before I share her philosophy, quotes, and praise while speaking, I've prefaced her with the fact that if the world were on fire (which arguably, it kinda is) and I could only choose one person to save for the next version of civilization, it would indubitably be her.

(This was only awkward once when my mom was in the audience and I had to apologize for this prioritization... however I still believe she's the best thing to ever happen to this world and would be the greatest gift for the next.)

#1) What Sonya has taught me about healing the world and the importance of bodies - the largest driving force behind all of my work - which came from a comment she made on a Bitch Magazine article:


The Body Is Not An Apology is an international movement committed to cultivating global Radical Self Love and Body Empowerment. We believe that discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with the body, our own and others. Through information dissemination, personal and social transformation projects and and community building, The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self love which translates to radical human love and action in service toward a more just, equitable and compassionate world

Or, in other words:

“I began to realize that while all issues were not specifically about the body, the impact of all issues were felt on the body and how we felt about bodies informed our social, political, economic and cultural landscape. I began to see the key to social change, equity and justice as the work of making peace with bodies.”

Let all of that just soak in.

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#2) What Sonya has taught me about healing work and it's worth:

I am often asked if The Body is Not An Apology is a non-profit organization and I, with great conviction tell people NO! TBINAA is a for-profit Benefit Corporation and here are my top 5 reasons why:

1. I believe social change needs to be at the center of our economic systems, not the margins.
2. Those doing the most impacting work should not have to scramble in competition for small pots of foundation funding.
3. As long as equity and justice work is considered “charity” it will always be what we fund last and cut first.
4. I know that if we leverage our resources we have the collective economic and social power to ensure that everybody with a body has what they need to thrive.
5. Lastly, I believe that radical self-love is an economic principle that moves us from a Detriment Buying © model (using our money to pay for things that further our feeling deficient, unworthy, numbed out and disconnected from our bodies and our world) to Best Interest Buying ©, a model that asks us to allow our economic investments, whether they be a latte or a stock portfolio, to be a reflection of our commitment to radical self-love for our own lives and for the lives of others.

What if every time we bought something we asked ourselves, “Is this purchase a reflection of my radical self-love values? Does this purchase remind me that I am a brilliant, powerful contributor to equity, justice and compassion for myself and for the world?” When we say YES to that question, we shift the very nature of our economic system from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Our services at TBINAA exist as a reflection of these principals. With Radical Self Love, we all profit!

This was sent through the TBINAA newsletter no less (subscribe if you haven't yet!) and #3 has changed the way I will see money distribution forever.





#3) What Sonya has taught me about the journey towards liberation and self-love:

You don’t have to get to radical self-love. You came here that way. You have never seen a self-loathing toddler who says, “I really hate the way my skin looks.” Those are messages. We know these messages are external because these are things we adopt as we get older and people start to tell us stuff about our bodies. We didn’t come here believing those things. We came here unobstructed from understanding our divinity and awesomeness in these bodies. Over time, more and more obstructions are keeping us from accessing who it is we inherently know ourselves to be. Radical self-love is unobstructed access to the awesome you that you’ve always been. It’s unobstructed access to the amazing and enough human being that you have always been.
- From Bitch Magazine's "No Ordinary Love" interview

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This last image is one of my all-time favorites; an awkward "in-between moment" where we embraced with such enthusiasm that our true selves were captured perfectly and she used this image as one of her "Bad" Picture Monday images which included this caption:

Talk about the spirit of "Bad" Picture Monday being summed up in an image! I was having a radically beautiful tingly moment with the EPIC Jes M. Baker! Which means despite how I look in this photo, there is NOTHING HERE BUT RADICAL BEAUTY and LOVE!

#4) What Sonya has taught me about the importance of "Bad Pictures":

 As you read this, 300,000 people on-line are untagging, deleting, burying deep in the recesses of the junk folder, pictures they consider “bad”. Social Networking has created a digital army of perfect smiles and brilliantly coiffed heads who all believe the only pictures that should be seen are the ones where we look “good”.  “Bad” Picture Monday reminds us that there is no “bad” way to inhabit a body

Her reasoning behind this concept is simple: "Shame is ugly. YOU ARE GORGEOUS."



If you're not constantly checking out TheBodyIsNotAnApology.com change that!
(For more on why "unflattering pictures are important, check this out!)


#5) The most important thing you need to know right now?

Sonya's book called The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love JUST LAUNCHED and it's been described as "church" buy so many people I've lost count. 

I will add myself to that list.

Buy it. Read it. Let it soak in. Let it change the way you see, interact with and heal the world. If there was one person to guide you on this journey, Sonya is it.

Sonya, you have taught me that you absolutely can lead with love and I'll never be able to thank you enough for this.


--------
PS: Make sure you follow her through the links below
(and subscribe to her newsletter!):


P.P.S. You can bring Sonya to your event here.
P.P.P.S. Her tour dates and cities can be found here. If you can go, GO!
P.P.P.P.S. Check out the other Current Crush posts here!

BOOK ME, BABY! (BRING THE MILITANT BAKER TO YOU)

(I still can't believe this was my workplace and outfit for the day.)

Q#1: What is the best part of being Jes Baker for a living?

Hands down... speaking. Lecturing. Presenting. Sharing important information with a crowd and cracking terrible jokes while doing so. Whatever you wanna call it, it's my favorite thing IN THE WORLD.

Speaking is what allows me to connect with the most amazing individuals in real life (you, obviously!) which is super special for me since so much of my work happens on a computer.  And while book writing can be great... nothing beats meeting you, losing it while laughing, wiping away tears and listening to your stories. OH AND HUGS. So many hugs.

Guys, sometimes I get to hug for a living. (<-- That may be the most glorious sentence I've ever typed.)

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak in Paris.

The room was full of government officials, activists, thought leaders, academics, social science researchers, industry professionals... let's just say there were a lot of really amazing people there and
we all learned a lot from each other. 

The topic at hand? The global issues around fatphobia (or there, grossophobie), ways we can change this oppressive landscape and the best part - a long list of action items that the Parisian government is implementing to work towards eradicating fat bias entirely.

In short? It was A POWERFUL DAY.

It also reminded me how much I love speaking 
(even if 99% of it had to be translated - I managed to give my introduction in French... the rest was rightfully translated for me) and how powerful it is to gather in one room together and talk about body image issues in person.

I want to do this with you!

I am now available for speaking at campuses, conferences, personal events, fashion shows, symposiums, panels, or y'know- citywide world-altering days; you name it! I'm booking for 2018 and I'm ready to come to you

(In my element: sharing that "La grossophobie, c'est... bullshit" (fatphobia is total bullshit) and loving on Helene Bidard, Deputy Mayor of Paris)

Q#2: What do you speak about?

When I get to tour, I usually deliver the lecture "Change the World, Love Your Body: The Social Impact of Body Love." I basically preach the importance of body autonomy, self-esteem, mental health, social justice and diversity and nowhere is off limits when it comes to traveling to talk about this topic; I'll bring it anywhere it's requested.

The "professional" description of the lecture as explained by my agency starts out like this:

In her brilliantly irreverent presentation  "Change the World, Love Your Body.", Baker explores the state of our current body image issues, shares 10 effective ways for participants to individually re-frame the way they perceive themselves, and clearly illustrates how implementing these 10 actions will  positively affect us all on a global level. 



I've also lectured on mental health, strength-based resiliency, recovery AND fashion as a form of political resistance. Have another topic in mind? We can definitely chat about how to make that happen. 

2018  already has some amazing opportunities to meet fantastic people (I'll get to visit Canada this year!) and I CAN'T WAIT FOR EVEN MORE!


(Press conference, selfie and post-show shenanigans- the best kind)


Q#3: So, how do I book that hot bod (and brain) of yours?

It's really simple! If you're a student, pitch it to your gender studies/multicultural/student activities division and have them (or you, if you're an overachiever;)) contact Kevin MacRae to set it all up. I even have a flyer you can print out and take with you and more information (including quotes about how awesome I am when handed a microphone) here!

For all other events, you're welcome to directly contact Kevin (he's a peach) and you'll find his contact information is below.

I can't WAIT to meet you, sign a book or two and tell you how rad you are. SEE YOU SOON!


MacRae Speakers & Entertainment, LLC.
Kevin R. MacRae, President
PO Box 535
Pembroke, MA 02358
781-829-6500

2018 DRUNKEN GIN RUMMY GOALS

(Double chin portrait by the talented AF Tyler Feder of Roaring Softly)

I only had one actual New Years resolution for 2018: To own one of those old-fashioned cast iron apple coring devices that you clamped onto your counter and then cranked.

Kinda like this one, but an older model more reminiscent of "my childhood" so I could bring back the precious memories of turning the wooden handle until my arms felt like they were on fire which really only mattered until the applesauce was ready. Once you took that first bite? The work was always worth it, even to a seven-year-old.

As Lady Luck would have it, I just found one while in Globe, Arizona (population 7000) at a thrift store for $3 and seeing as today is only January 10th? Well, I'd say it's been a ridiculously successful year already.

The following items aren't really resolutions... I think. They're more like "I got really drunk while playing Gin Rummy and thought of all kinds of things I really want to do so I wrote them down and now I can't stop adding to the list" goals.

I don't really know what the difference is between the two since I AM making a literal list of things I want to do and it's the beginning of the year... but I'm sticking with my definition of "goals." They are all hella fun and stoked about checking them off over the next twelve-ish months.

I get really inspired while drinking and playing cards, by the way. It's when some of my greatest ideas come... BUT only if I'm winning. If I'm losing? Well, I've been put in many unproductive time-outs before but that's another topic for another post. Onto my 2018 goals!

This year I will:

  1. Read three novels: I read 20-30 books a year but can't remember the last fictional book I've actually finished. Time to put the non-fiction down (but only for a quick moment!) and make a change, bitches.

  2. Karaoke "I've Been Everywhere" well enough to not make Johnny Cash cry: This is karaoke GOALS for me. I'm also gonna need some (read: a LOT of) practice. Plus, everyone has GOT to be tired of hearing me belt out"What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes by now. It's a classic, sure, but even classics need a rest.

  3. Finance a book tour. My publishing company isn't funding tours anymore... but meeting all of you is my favorite thing in this world. This means I'm gonna need to work some serious magic on my end, boss up and give it one hell of a try!

  4. Learn enough Spanish to hold a conversation: I can understand some while listening + reading, but speaking it? That's a whole other story. This goal is a long time coming and I'm here for it.

  5. Finish a legit art project: I've been semi-working on two completely different pieces. I realize that "legit" is subjective but I'm going to be SO HAPPY when I finish one. This ex-art major has a lot of catching up to do.

  6. Overhaul my bedroom: I think everyone has a room in their living space where all the unorganized shit just "wanders into" and then stays forever. Mine? My bedroom. This means that it's basically just storage for endless piles of clothing and other random objects that I'm always looking for but now? Now I'm determined to make it a lovely place to be. Wish me luck and also see #15.

  7. Launch a "merch" line: My most intimidating goal ever. It's also something I've wanted to do for years. I've already found ethically sourced, US made, actually comfy shirts up to size 34 (this is a miracle in the fashion world and I have Rachel to thank for it) and they're on their way... 2018 IS THE YEAR.

  8. Learn the cello or ukulele: Random fact #1: I played the violin (classical violin and then fiddle which is basically the same instrument but way more fun) for a decade. I was kinda good- like, first chair good. Random fact #2: I always wished I played the cello instead. Maybe I was just meant to do it in my 30's?!? The ukulele is a second (and easier) option because I already own a handpainted one and it only has four strings. Either will make me happy. #StringMusicians4Life

  9. Disneybound: I'm obsessed with the concept of Disneybounding and as a kid who grew up in LA, I'm feeling a reaaaallly strong pull back to the theme park. The only question is WHO SHOULD I DISNEYBOUND AS?!?! Suggestions welcome.

  10. Make #DesertBounding a thing: Disneybounding is all about creating an homage to a Disney Character by evoking their aesthetic using only street clothes. I want to create an homage to part of the world I live in by using street clothes that mirror my favorite Sonoran Desert images. Everyone I've mentioned this to has laughed at me but I AM NOT DETERRED.

  11. Learn Lightroom: Picmonkey (side note- R.I.P. Picnik) has been my BFF for years. I feel a little guilty about betraying this website but I think it's time to actually be able to fix the lighting in my photos. I quiver when I think about all the work it will take to unlock Lightroom's magnificent powers but I'm not going to let that get in my way.

  12. Snorkel in a new location: I'm obsessed and unashamed. Belize and Jamaica were just the beginning!

  13. NOT title this blog post "The Year of Jes": It was SO tempting, but done and DONE. Shonda, it's all you, friend.

  14. Viciously purge my closet: I'm talkin' about sorting everything with reckless abandon and leaving all my co-dependant clothing emotions outside my bedroom door.

  15. Make acupuncture a regular practice: Acupuncture has healed me in more ways than one. It needs to be a consistent part of my life and with Tucson Community Acupuncture's sliding scale, it's totally do-able. P.S. Tucsonans: GO THERE.

  16. Visit another country: Any country. I have no idea how to make this happen since my credit cards (yes, cards... as in multiple) are all maxed out but I will figure it out.

  17. Make eclairs at home from scratch: So many steps. So worth it.

  18. Learn Quickbooks: It's about time I became a grown-ass adult and got my shit together.

  19. Host a friend get together at my home: I have a circle of incredible people that I get to call friends. I also have a backyard. With a fire pit. And I like wine. It's gonna happen.

  20. Produce or co-produce a body liberation event: The last one I hosted was this rad spoken word event called "Hello My Name Is _____" with some of the coolest humans in Tucson. What's next? I mayyyyy have some ideas...

  21. NOT adopt another cat: Every part of my soul feels like I need a fourth cat and that it's the only way to make my heart whole. The problem is that every time my partner and I have a logical discussion about this, he reminds me that three cats and a dog is more than enough for two people. I mean, I agree but...

  22. Bake a damn loaf of chocolate Babka: I've been talking about how much I want to do this, how great this recipe is, how babka can save the world, yada yada yada for over a year now. I need to suck it up, make the time and bake a damn loaf already.

  23. Keep a houseplant alive for longer than 6 months: This is a herculean feat for me.

  24. Learn how to make my own essential oils: I am so excited to master the art of making my house smell like "desert rain" year round thanks to my diffuser and (soon to be learned) killer DIY skills.

These goals will live on my sidebar all year and as I check them off, I'll be sure to link them (thanks for the inspiration Sarah!) as I finish each one.

I also reserve the right to add more goals when I feel that it's needed... we're playing cards again tonight, after all.

I'd love to hear from you: what are some things you want to do this year? Hit me with two, five or twenty... I just want to hear some of what you have planned for 2018!

GIVEAWAY: CHEMISTRY + HISTORY (A BODY POSITIVE, FEMINIST, AND FOUL MOUTHED TWIST ON TWILIGHT THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS)


A few things that I love: Cursing. YA fiction. Plus size protagonists who don't settle. Bad-ass babes in general. Anything that gives the Twilight series a run for its money.

With all of that being said, I am honored to introduce to you my new best friend C.L. Lynch who wrote two books that incorporate ALL OF THOSE THINGS. 
PLUS ZOMBIES.

Obviously, 2018 already has some great things in it so far.

You might remember Chemistry, the first book in the series (which was hosted here) that launched in December 2016. It's a "foul-mouthed, feminist twist on Twilight" featuring Stella Blunt - a heroine with a big body and a bigger mouth... and guess what? IT DID REALLY WELL!

It won the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Award for Humor and it was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

IndieReader Discovery Awards said:

Chemistry by C. L. Lynch begins as a humorous take on Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, but quickly turns into a story of a bullied teenager learning to trust others. Stella Blunt is not an easy character to like, which is why it's so great to see her lowering her guard and learning to trust.


BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER! The sequel, History, is now published and available!

In History, Stella is a year older and a good deal wiser, but still swears like a sailor and still has a lot to learn. Whereas Chemistry dealt with body positivity, bullying, and first love, in History, Stella deals with more "New Adult" issues - she takes on heartbreak, university, awkward de-virginating sex, fat fetishism, and a zombie apocalypse... but most horrifying of all, she has to confront her own ableism. While the characters that made my readers laugh are still there and wacky as ever, the book has a more serious tone than the first and so it also tends to make them cry. I get angry emails from people about mid-way through the book but they forgive me by the end.


C.L. added: 

People who have read New Moon and Eclipse will recognize lots of easter eggs where my story nods at Stephenie Meyer and then storms off in the opposite direction.

Before you ask... yes, you DEFINITELY have the opportunity to win both today!


Giveaways happen when someone contacts me and says: I wanna buy a specific spot on your blog so I can give free awesome shit to your readers. To which I say: does it sorting laundry, answering hundreds of emails or admitting that season 8 of Shameless is over? (I hate ALL of those things) and when they come back and say NO, actually it's really awesome you and your readers will definitely like it!, chances are I'll investigate and then say... OKAY! Let's do this.

This then means that I'm renting out some real estate, they're getting exposure, and you're getting presents year round. Which is amazing for everyone and I'm glad I'm doing more of these. Things to know: depending on who it is, they might letcha follow their social media accounts to have extra entry options. But no matter what, I always ask that there is a chance for everyone to enter at least once without having to "like" or "follow" anything. If you want to be an overachiever beyond that, it's up to you. Like and follow away.

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about trying to hide all my insecurities but failing because I had a photo taken. It's gonna be good... I think. Either way, you're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?
Here's what C.L. Lynch is sending our way:

  1. The Grand Prize: One of you will win a new Kindle Fire 7 (hell yeah, you heard right) in addition to both books in Kindle version. You can scroll and read to your heart's content!

  2. The Almost-As-Grand Prize: One of you will win a physical copy of both Chemistry AND History, signed by the award-winning C.L. Lynch herself!

    and
  3. Twenty of you will receive: a free download of Chemistry to get those zombie kicking, bad-ass fat girl vibes going!

    Really, it's all grand.

Are these books your style? Do you need them in your book collection? Well, how does this excerpt sound?:

 When you’re in love, you’re supposed to hold hands and face death with serene acceptance. We could share a dramatic kiss as we died in the tradition of star-crossed lovers everywhere.


  “Fuck that shit,” I said as my chainsaw sputtered to life and began to roar. “Let's slice off some heads.”

Sold? Then enter away!  I'm so thrilled TWENTY TWO OF YOU WILL BE WINNERS!


P.S. Entries are available for all you US and Canada inhabitants!  To the rest of the world, I'm sorry and we still love you!
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