Beer with a Blogger: Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita

When you find yourself stressed out with finals and job applications and the holidays, sometimes all you need is to grab a pint with a new friend.

And my get-together with Stephanie was long overdue. Back when she was pregnant, we had planned to meet up but never got around to it. Now she has an adorable three-month-old son and is allowed to drink again, so it all worked out! (Except the part where I forgot my DSLR. Low-light iPhone photos FTW.)

Beer with a Blogger: Stephanie from Loudmouth Lifestyle

THE BLOGGER

Stephanie Shar from Loudmouth Lifestyle and Baby Loudmouth. (Stephanie is a new mom, works full-time and she runs two blogs. WHAT.) Stephanie moved to L.A. five years ago from Detroit and worked a few “normal” jobs before pursuing her own creative business. I adore Steph’s blog because she has an authentic—and appropriately loud—voice. I’m always engaged when I read her posts and feel like I know exactly who she is. And what you see on her blog is what you get in person. She’s warm, open, funny as hell and is one of those people who cuts right through the bullshit and calls it like she sees it. She’s a really easy person to talk to and is launching a kickass program called Loud Ladies to make 2015 awesome.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent post of hers that I loved and sums her up perfectly:

I tried to keep my thoughts and feelings about the events in Ferguson on Twitter and Instagram. I wanted to stay ‘professional’ and keep this space for my ‘business’ and keep the personal shit at bay. But I’m in the business of getting personal. Welcome to The Loudmouth Lifestyle.

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita Newhall Refinery

THE BAR

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita, a city 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. I loved the area right off the bat when I turned onto the adorable main street where parking was both free and a breeze. The bar itself has a very cozy, neighborhoody vibe (enhanced by their Christmas decorations) and is staffed by very friendly folks. They had at least six different kinds of Sierra Nevada on draft, and it looks like they change that out every once in a while—now their beer menu lists eight different kinds of Goose Island! I wasn’t hungry, but it was so tempting to order food. The place smelled of fried goodness, and the couple sitting next to me had a cookies and creme dessert that looked delicious.

Newhall Refinery Newhall Refinery

THE BEER

I love me some Sierra Nevada, so I ordered a Nooner Session IPA (4.8%). Steph, in true Loudmouth form, asked the bartender for the strongest IPA on tap. So she got an Avery DuganA Double IPA (8.5%). Also worth noting that the prices were totally reasonable. I had two beers (one 16-oz. and one 12-oz.) and paid 11 bucks plus tip. Considering what most L.A. bars will charge you, this was a refreshing change of pace.

Cassie and Stephanie

Needless to say, we had a blast. If I didn’t have to drive home, I would’ve had another beer or two and gotten a little silly. But we’ll definitely get together again. (I still need to meet that sweet babe of hers!) Make sure you check out Steph’s blog—and say hi on Twitter while you’re at it.

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Feminist to Follow: Shannon from Awash With Wonder

Few bloggers these days have me latched onto their every word the way Shannon Butler does.

And when I asked the blogger behind Awash With Wonder to tell me why blogging about feminism is important to her, I should’ve known she’d respond with a blog post-length essay worthy of publication on a site that actually reimburses its contributors.

How lucky I am to have her thoughts for free.

For that reason, I’m keeping my introduction to this month’s installment of Feminist to Follow short and will let Shannon’s words show why she’s a feminist and blogger you should know. Read on…

Feminist to Follow: Shannon from Awash With Wonder

Blogging about feminism is important to me because I care about women and our role in the world.

In a recent interview with Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham is quoted as saying, “I just think feminism is my work. Everything I do, I do because I was told that as a woman, my voice deserves to heard, my rights are to be respected, and my job was to make that possible for others.”

I see feminism as my work, too.

I did not grow up wanting to be a movie star or a doctor or an astronaut. I had no clear goals. The only thing I’ve always known and that has become truer as the years passed is this: I love to be a woman and I love other women.

Even with all the bullshit women face, I have never wished I wasn’t one. I see it as a privilege to be able to befriend smart, funny, interesting women and get to experience that divine miracle that is supportive female friendship.

But do I wish there wasn’t so much bullshit? Yeah, I do – especially because there is so much of it.

Recently, a lot of women have publically asserted that they do not like catcalling. The response has not been what a rational person might think it would be. Imagine a world where people say, “We do not like this thing you’re doing; it makes us feel threatened and harassed” and the response is, “Well you should like it, it’s a compliment, stop being so ungrateful”?

Affordable birth control is still being fought for in 2014 in America. Just let that sink in. This in a country where maternity leave is either nonexistent or an absolute joke.

The response to a woman saying she was raped – which only a tiny percentage of rape victims report – is often not, “Are you okay?” but, “How much were you drinking?” or “How short was your skirt?”

Think about how many people you know who have a female boss or how many stories you hear about men having to fight to get paid the same amount as women who have the same qualifications and do the same job as them. I’ll wait.

That’s just a small percentage of the problems women face in America. Let’s talk global.

Malala Yousafzai was shot for daring to be a girl and wanting an education.

The 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram have reportedly been “married off” to their kidnappers. Those girls are under thirteen and are facing a lifetime of imprisonment and sexual assault.

Reading about girl babies globally who get abandoned, aborted or denied medical care by their parents because girls aren’t valuable in their societies is numbing. The authors of Half The Sky, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, report: “More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.”

The number of people currently sold into sexual slavery and forced labor is hard to pinpoint – trust that it’s more than you think – but everyone fighting to save those people agree that woman and girls account for more than 90% of them. I can go on.

In her book, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay wrote, “It’s hard not to feel humorless, as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening; it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.”

There is so much to be concerned about. It’s hard not to believe that fighting for gender equality is too difficult, that it would be easier to just give up and accept that the world is dominated by patriarchal societies and we just have to deal with the misogyny and oppression that comes with it.

But part of being human is to hope for a better world and to believe that you may play a role in making it so. Fighting for gender equality is one of the most important things we can do to make the world a better place – not just for women but also for men.

Former chief economist of The World Bank, Lawrence Summers, believes “investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world’” and the United Nations Development Program found that “woman’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity…and increases the chances of education for the next generation.”

Giving women the chance to excel – a freedom they have been denied for centuries – will change the world. That’s why I write about issues that affect women and the way feminism has helped to give me hope.

I am not naïve enough to believe that just because I identify as female that I’m going to like every woman or support every decision she makes. But that’s not what feminism asks of me. Feminism simply asks that I fight for every woman to live a life where she is not oppressed or disadvantaged or allowed to die because of her gender. It is not too much to ask. It is the bare minimum, actually.

 

If you want to read more of Shannon’s thoughtful, eloquent writing on feminism, you’ll enjoy these:

Let’s talk about rape culture
Does your partner need to be a feminist?
Why representation matters

Thanks so much for sharing your words, Shannon. Be sure to check out other Feminists to Follow here.

Who are some of your favorite feminist bloggers?

Feminist to Follow: Augusta Gail

The blog world could use more feminists like Augusta Gail.

The self-described grrl power princess is a Southerner who moved to Hollywood to pursue her writerly dreams, and Augusta’s blog of the same name is where she talks honestly and openly about her experiences of embracing herself through feminism. That’s why she’s this month’s featured Feminist to Follow.

Feminist to Follow: Augusta Gail

photo by Aurora Lady
 

Why do we need more bloggers like Augusta? She’s not afraid to get personal, and she’s not afraid to talk about the taboo. She curses and she’s open about her flaws, yet she can drive a point home and will make you love yourself more in the process. I admire her spitfire spirit, and I think you will, too.

Here’s Augusta in her own words:

“I wasn’t always a very good feminist; in fact, I spent much of my high school and college years completely disregarding the idea of feminism. It wasn’t until my life – and my self-esteem – hit rock bottom that I truly discovered, and embraced, feminism.

As a writer, I immediately realized that I wanted to combine my love for writing with my love of grrrl power, and create a place where girls (and guys) could find inspiration, reassurance, and share their stories. Writing about feminism is important to me because I want women to know that they’re so much more than a stereotype, or a dress size, or something to be stared at. It’s important because, every day, a teenage girl makes herself miserable trying to look a certain way and appeal to certain people. I want to encourage girls to embrace self-love and self-confidence. It’s important because, every night, women walk across parking lots with their keys clenched between their fingers, expecting to have to protect themselves.

I want to help create a world where there is no rape or violence against women – a world where yes means yes and consent is given the utmost of importance. I write about feminism in the hopes that people will join the fight for women’s rights and equality. I write about feminism because it truly changed my life, and I’m so incredibly proud to be a feminist!”

Some must-read posts from Augusta Gail:

The Story of My Selfie – On reclaiming confidence and self-love with selfies.
Feminism is SexyCan you wear sexy clothes and still be a feminist? (Yes. Here’s why.)
The Magic of Menstruation“If the thought of lady bits bleeding freaks you out, well then, you should probably keep reading.  Because, let’s be honest, you need to get over it.” ‘Nuff said.

 

Make sure you check out Augusta’s blog for every more great posts. (And if you missed the first installment of Feminist to Follow, meet Kate from Clear the Way here.) 

Who are some of your favorite feminist bloggers?

Beer with a Blogger: Hyperion Public in Silver Lake

With temperatures hitting record highs here in Los Angeles, it only seemed fitting to cool down with a brew or two.

Which is why I was delighted when a Twitter friend agreed to be featured in the next installment of Beer with a Blogger! It was a no-brainer when we realized we lived just a couple miles away from one another, and we met up at one of my favorite local spots.

Laura Donovan

THE BLOGGER

Laura Donovan, an L.A. native who is a regular contributor at Hello Giggles. (She’s also written for Mic, The Maude and more.) Laura is a master of writing listicles and how-tos with an authentic, relatable voice. And in real life, she’s as easy to talk to as you’d expect from her writing. Not only is she super friendly and fun, but Laura is also smart and thoughtful. I always say a good sign that someone is a genuinely nice person is if they ask more questions than you do. Laura’s that kind of person. Check out her writing here, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Hyperion Public

Hyperion Public

THE BAR

Hyperion Public, a popular neighborhood pub here in Silver Lake with a classy-yet-casual dining room up front, a dark and cozy bar room for sports-watching in the back, and a handful of sidewalk tables for people- and dog-watching outside. They have happy hour seven days a week (late nights during the weekend), and the F Yeah Fries and truffled mac are for real the bomb. Best of all? Hyperion Public is right around the corner from me, so I can enjoy myself with a beer (or two) and walk home!

Hyperion Public

THE BEER

I enjoyed the El Segundo Citra Pale Ale while Laura had the Trumer Pils. Both were incredibly refreshing on a 100-plus degree day.

save water drink beer

Hanging with Laura on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to cool off from the heat. We had plenty to talk about, and it was such a trip meeting someone who I feel like I’ve been following online for ages, even though I can’t remember how we came across one another. I’m so happy to have made a new friend!

Cassie & Laura

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Feminist to Follow: Kate from Clear the Way

Contrary to what comment threads on any website might indicate, there are a lot of thoughtful, intelligent and well-meaning folks on the interwebs.

Such folks give me hope that we’re not doomed to a future of violence, misogyny and overall mayhem. (And it’s tough not to feel that way when reading the news these days.) That’s why I’d like to take some time to highlight the people who are spreading good on the web by fostering important discussions and inspiring new ways of thinking.

Enter the “Feminist to Follow” series, in which I introduce you to awesome people writing about feminism.

Every month, you’ll meet a new blogger who touches on the topic in engaging and meaningful ways. And I’d like to kick off the series with the lovely Kate of Clear the Way.

Kate of Clear the Way

I only discovered Clear the Way somewhat recently, but I’m already a huge fan.

Earlier this year, Kate launched the series Feminist Fridays to open up a regular dialogue about all things feminism. And “dialogue” really is the appropriate word to describe the series, as it’s filled with words and interviews with other bloggers about their experiences. I love how the series manages to encompass everything from sexism and the patriarchy to art and music. The series is as diverse and entertaining as the rest of Kate’s blog, which also touches on fashion, decor, vegan recipes and writing.

What I love most about Clear the Way is that it has everything I love in a lifestyle blog—style, food, thoughts on blogging—but it goes beyond the basic requirements of that genre and ties in feminism in a way that makes it accessible and relatable.

Here’s Kate in her own words:

“Blogging about feminism is important because your blog should be an extension of yourself, and if you are passionate about feminism you should share it. Opening up about feminism on my blog through my Feminist Fridays series has been amazing for me and my blog because it has allowed me to talk about the things that are really important to me and connect with others who have similar passions.”

Some must-read posts from Clear the Way:

How Do You Deal: Disapproval  – in which Kate and several other ladies discuss criticism of their feminist views from others
Fem Fridays: Be Bright – a message of inspiration and support for those inevitable dark days
Everyday Feminism – a series in which guest contributors write about how they live out feminism every day

Today, I added my own thoughts to Kate’s Everyday Feminism series, and you can check it out on her blog here.

For those not already a fan of Clear the Way, make sure you check out Kate’s blog. What other feminist bloggers do you love to follow?