featured

Are Geeks Starting a New Body Image Trend?

6/22/2016 Laura Watkins 2 Comments


I have the absolute WORST time finding swimwear that I like. It's so hard to find something cute and not too revealing, so finding something geeky is usually out of the question.

I mean, why is it that people assume that cosplay or geek fashion equals slutty?? Sex really does sell, especially in Hollywood, but what about normal people? What about those of us who aren't celebrities, who just want to enjoy our fandoms and be ourselves?

The fact is that, with few exceptions, designers and vendors have catered to a small demographic—making women's clothes for the few who feel they need to dress like strippers to boost their self-esteem (and the boys who drool over them).

It took me a long time to understand why my mom didn't like comic books or even some of the comic-based cartoons I loved, like the 90's X-men. Even as a kid, I was drawn to into the comic book world with its enthralling plots and characters. It took becoming a mom to fully understand that she didn't have anything against comic books themselves, but, rather, their graphic portrayals of women.



What do these skin-tight clothes and over-sized chests (heck, even the men in comics are ridiculously muscle-bound and unrealistically proportioned!) tell our kids about their body image or how they should view others? Do we have to look overly sexual to appear strong and confident?

DC SuperHero Girls
That's why the new trend I'm seeing has me so excited. Between the new DC SuperHero Girls (pictured above) and Star Trek TNG swim suits from ThinkGeek, we're seeing new content and fashion that I can share with my kids. They even have matching dresses!

Check them out:





This long sleeved Swim Shirt, based on Deanna Troi's lavendar jumpsuit from season 2 and 3, is not only adorable but excellent protection from the sun! I don't know about you, but my shoulders and back always get burned when I spend a long day poolside.


They also have a bunch of other cute and modest Star Trek clothes:












I was totally gonna leave it there, but I made the mistake of going back to look at more of their Star Trek gear and found these! Oh my goodness I'm in love. I SOOOO NEED these:




This one makes me squuueeee!!! Star Trek Bat'leth Letter Opener


Kirk - To boldly go where no man has gone before
Kirk & Gorn - I shall be merciful and quick - Gorn
Redshirt - Join Starfleet they said. It'd be fun they said
Spock - Live long and prosper









Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

* indicates required






What types of updates do you want to receive:










    2 comments:

    my battle for better health

    My Battle For Better Health: I'm Not Alright and That's Okay

    6/16/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

    My cats and dog snuggling with me
    People keep asking me how I am and I keep giving the obligatory, "I'm fine" or "okay", mostly because I don't want to dump my problems on them or have even one more person feel sorry for me.

    A therapist once told me to repeat the phrase "I accept myself as I am" each time I breathed in or out when practicing controlled breathing. I understood the breathing part but didn't really get the rest until now. Every once in a while, I've tried to understand that phrase a bit better but I really have trouble accepting it. No pun intended.

    I'm really not alright. I don't like who I am or where I'm at right now. Last night, I cried myself to sleep. The world just felt wrong. I've been in terrible pain, constantly exhausted, and just blah! I feel toxic. When my family's tried to talk to me the last few days I'm likely to snap at them, hug them, ignore them, or ask them to help me do something. I want to curl up into a ball and hide.

    Do you have People? You know the kind of friends who energize you or make the world warmer? People who, after you've spent a bit of time with them you either feel like you can take on the world or at least that you can stand being Atlas (I mean the Titan, not the map one) a bit longer? I just got done talking to one of my People and it helped me realize not only that I am REALLY not alright but that it's okay.

    I spent most of the conversation just listening, not even wanting to talk and couldn't figure out why for the longest time. I needed that sunshine, that energy. She moved away more than a year ago and I am realizing how much she changed my life. Before we met, I had already decided the general direction I wanted my life to go but I was really just drifting along. Being around her really helped me focus. She saw potential in me and made me feel like I could live my dreams. It wasn't that she didn't see my imperfections---oh she saw them! She saw me on some of my worst days. I think the difference was that even though she had some major problems in her life, she wouldn't give up. She'd seen some of the worst of humanity but she's decided to live her dreams. 

    After talking to her, I realized that I've been living off borrowed sunshine for most of my life. I keep waiting for someone to make things better. For things to finally be alright. For my health to get better. For one good day when I can get some work done without so much pain. For energy. For help... And I've felt drained. I've felt empty to the point where the smallest need anyone has of me is a huge thing to ask because I've already given all I have and how can you give if you've got nothing left?

    Life has been hard lately. I love having my kids home for the summer but have almost no time for myself. I have a really bad toothache but no dental insurance and no money to fix it. My energy level has been so low that I've barely been able to do more than sleep all the time, which really makes me mad because the last blood test showed my thyroid levels were back up to normal so I should be all better, right??? My fibromyalgia pain and inflammation are trying for a world record. We're trying to plan for a trip to go visit family (especially my father-in-law who is old, alone, and sick and probably won't be around much longer and we're worried about him but don't know how to help him while we're so far away), but we don't have the money to get there. Our car broke down and we can't afford to fix it so we have no transportation. PMS is kicking my butt. I'm overweight and my blood pressure has high. I witnessed my best friend's husband's last words as the paramedics took him away and the cries of their children as she told them he'd passed away. (Missed that post? Read it here.) My best friend is moving out of state. And that's barely the tip of the iceberg. Right now, MY WORLD SUCKS!

    But you know what? I think I get it. "I accept myself as I am" doesn't mean that I'll finally like my life when it gets better or that I'll like myself when I'm perfect. I need to find a way to be ok this very minute when things are really bad and I'm in pain. I am not my energy level or my to do list. Yes, I am in pain, both mentally and physically. It's completely normal at this point. If I wasn't, there would probably be even more wrong with me. Pain means I'm alive, so does frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, etc. It's time to go make my own sunshine, to dig deep and figure out why it's all worth it. I'll still surround myself with people who lift me up, but I need to be standing on my own as well.

    I'm gonna go snuggle with my kids and husband and I won't even tell the dog not to lick my foot. Hugs and prayers for all of you who are struggling as well!

    My goals

    I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
    I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
    I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
    I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
    I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.
    I will accept myself as I am.


    Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

    * indicates required






    What types of updates do you want to receive:








      0 comments:

      Gifford Family Update

      6/10/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


      I know it's cliche but this really does feel like the longest week of my life and I'm not even the one who lost a husband/father. (Read about the Gifford Family and their loss here.) We've been preparing for the funeral, arranging the family's transportation back to Washington State, where BJ will be buried. I still can't believe that a week ago Keani and I did our semi-weekly Costco/grocery trip and she mentioned that BJ hadn't been feeling well.

      Both of us have boys in Cub Scouts and we'd had our first Rain-Gutter Regatta a few days before. It struck me as a bit odd that their son's boat wasn't ready yet. BJ was hugely involved in scouts and they always had something incredible prepared for Pinewood Derbies. I sent my son over to borrow some sandpaper from them and he told me that Keani and BJ's son needed help with is boat too.

      I'm shaking as I write this. Looking back, I feel like I should have known something was seriously wrong when BJ didn't even feel up to attending the Regatta, let alone help work on their boat. Keani has been so good at stopping these "what ifs" as she calls them, reminding us that even if they'd known about the blood clot earlier, there probably wasn't anything we could have done. I still can't believe how strong she is, holding us all together when it seems like she'd be the one to fall apart.


      The support we've seen has been wonderful! She has already been receiving some of the funds from the GoFundMe donations, which has allowed her to pay some of the funeral costs and to transport BJ back home to Washington. Keani asked me to give you all the following message:

      "Thank you so much for all the love that has been shown to us. It's just been a comfort to see so many people rally around us to help us get through this time. It's been a huge blessing to us. All the thoughts and prayers and service... Even the smallest, thoughts and prayers have been a huge comfort." -Keani

      You can still donate to the In Memory of BJ Gifford GoFundMe here.

      Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

      * indicates required






      What types of updates do you want to receive:







        0 comments:

        Geek/Gamer Family Shocked by Sudden Death

        6/06/2016 Laura Watkins 2 Comments


        I am still in shock over this, so it's really hard to write.

        When my neighbor, Keani, told me she and her husband had several replicas of the weapons from Lord the of Rings in their living room, a life-long friendship was automatic. I drool over them, their LOTR statuettes, memorabilia, and their Frostmourne replica, every time I'm at their house.

        Since that day, several years ago, we've become fast friends, sharing our love of Warcraft, white tigers, and geeky things (despite her aversion to Doctor Who, which we constantly joke about), and even starting a business together (Netherfield Publishing). Our kids (who are around the same ages) and dogs play together, we go grocery shopping together, we've even celebrated holidays together (I don't think I'll ever forget trying to stop our kids from chasing each other with fireworks!) They're family now.

        Like my husband and I, Keani and BJ moved to Provo to attend college but also share some similar health and mental health problems, especially depression and anxiety. We've literally spent hours commiserating and trying to boost each other up and get through our worst times. BJ used his love of gaming (Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Diablo) to cope with severe depression and anxiety while working toward a bachelor's degree.

        In January, Keani suffered a debilitating miscarriage. Her doctors failed to diagnose its complications and the extreme pain she was in, though her body should have been able to heal itself weeks earlier. The toll these symptoms took on her were extreme and she began to shut down. I was beside myself trying to help her but could do little more than tell her that she wasn't crazy, they'd find a diagnosis, and she would get better. She was unable to work consistently, and eventually not at all, so she was fired from her job. Because there was no diagnosis at the time, it was completely legal and she was too exhausted, both physically and mentally, to fight it. She actually blamed herself for being too weak and inconsistent when, in fact, she was extremely ill.

        Finally, a new doctor took the time to listen to her and discover the real problem. Being jobless, she threw her efforts into our small business, determined to make it work to support both our families and our clients. The problem was, how do we pay the bills without "real" jobs and both our husbands in school? We kept sinking further into debt.

        I was up late on Saturday night. For some reason, I just couldn't get to sleep. I was a bit confused when I saw Keani calling at 1:30 am. BJ had collapsed and the paramedics were at her house. I ran over to watch her kids while they took him to the hospital.

        When I got there, they were still trying to help him into a stair-chair and get him down the 3 flights of steps of the apartment building. Keani was rushing around the house, trying to be helpful and gather things they might need to have with them.

        As the rescue team talked to BJ, he fell in and out of consciousness. With the few words he could utter, he begged them to just let him lay down and rest. I was shocked at how pale he was. When they left the house, he was completely unconscious. Miraculously, the children slept through it all.

        I sat on their couch and looked around the room, my mind racing. Keani had mentioned earlier that day that he'd had some strange symptoms but I'd thought it was a flu or something (it had been going around, and I'd had it the past week). This text came within the hour:


        It took me a few minutes to process it and respond. At first, I thought I must be wrong, that she meant that they'd transferred him to another hospital. He couldn't have died, he was just feeling sick! I eventually pulled it together and realized there really couldn't be another interpretation. Our friend, BJ Gifford, had just passed away from unknown causes at age 34, leaving behind his wife and three young children. **Update (We just found out today 6/6/16 that his death was caused by a pulmonary embolism.)**

        A quick phone call to get someone to watch our the kids, and, before long, I was off to the hospital to be with my grieving friend, who was much too young to be a widow. I expected to find her broken and inconsolable, like most of us would be. Instead, I found a woman I will try every single day of my life to be more like. Yes, she was devastated. Every few minutes, she'd burst into tears and the nurses and I would try to comfort her as she muttered words like, "I can't believe he's gone," and "I'm a widow with three small kids." Whenever she could, she pushed the tears aside and got down to business, asking questions about burial, addressing the heartbreaking question of organ donation, etc. She also calmed herself talking about her faith that she and her family would be with BJ again.

        I slept on her couch that night. She didn't want to be alone and didn't sleep in the few hours before the kids woke up. She later told me that because her nerves kept firing all over, she was in a lot of physical pain and truly felt like she had a hole in her heart.

        The shock made it almost impossible for me to sleep, but I was more anxious about when the kids would wake up and find their dad missing. I wasn't sure I could make it through her telling them. I'm naturally very weepy, even during sappy movies, and I was afraid I'd make things worse for them. Again, Keani showed me a strength beyond the natural. She calmly explained to the two older children. She answered their many questions and cried with them and held them tight.

        Most heartbreaking for me to watch was during the time I spent with the children that day. Her 3 year old son didn't understand. He spent much of the day at the window and talking about how "Daddy go to hospital." A new family was moving into their apartment building, and he was convinced that his dad was in the truck with them and he would come out soon and come home. When one of the children told him that their daddy was gone forever, Keani quickly explained, "No, he's not gone forever. We will be with him again. He won't come back, but someday, we will go to him."

        This family has been through so much and the days ahead are even harder. Their hearts are broken and I wish I could fix it all for them.


        A GoFundMe has been started to help pay for funeral and living costs, which seem insurmountable to them. We cannot fix their broken hearts but if we all give a little, we can easy a bit of their burdens. Even if all you can do is share this post or their GoFundMe, it will help!

        Read the latest Gifford Family update here.

        Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

        * indicates required






        What types of updates do you want to receive:







          2 comments:

          my battle for better health

          Because I Won't Stay Silent

          6/03/2016 Laura Watkins 4 Comments



          I was about to head to bed for the night when I heard my email notification on my phone. I really should have known better, but I checked it. The following comment was left on my post 5 Things You Can Do To Help Someone With Depression:


          And since we all know I can't shut up, here's my reply:

          The wording of your comment is a bit confusing but I'll try to answer your questions. Yes, I am "sick". I have been diagnosed with several clinical physical and mental illnesses by multiple licensed medical professionals.

          Yes, I am sick of all the this and I want to be well. I've gone to school. I do have a job (several in fact since I own my own business). I AM married. I have 3 kids. Dog? Check! I have 2 cats as well.

          It's really easy to get lost in your own worries and misery, whether you have clinical depression or not. The whole point of these posts is to help myself and people with similar issues learn to pull ourselves out of it all and enjoy life.

          Yes! I do love myself and I am very proud of all I have been able to accomplish. I'm going to keep on doing it, which means I will keep writing. :)


          Just in case I wasn't clear enough in the comment above... As long as there are people out there like me who feel alone or don't know where to look for help, wherever there is pain or suffering... I will not go quietly into the night. I will not vanish without a fight. I will be the blogger the internet needs not the one it deserves. Wait... is that the ones it deserves but doesn't need? Hmm... It got away from me, yeah. No wonder. I just realized I didn't get my nap today!

          I'll post again soon, don't you worry. It's really hard to shut me up once I start talking!

          My goals

          I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
          I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
          I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
          I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
          I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.

          Read more about My Battle for Better Health here.

          Psst! Don't miss a post! Sign up for my email list and get your 

          * indicates required






          What types of updates do you want to receive:








            4 comments: