Joan of Arc, The Maid of Orléans (Women’s History Month Post #3)

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For my third entry for Cupcakes & Machetes’ Women’s History Month Blog Event I’ve decided to go with none other than Joan of Arc. (Be sure, if you haven’t already, to check out C&M’s posts here and here to see all the amazing posts about women people have been posting for the month!)

Joan of Arc is a woman who became many things despite her life ultimately being cut so short. She was born a French peasant, but would go on to become a military leader and a hero to her people. Sadly, she also ended up becoming a martyr. Eventually she would be deemed a saint and go down in history, her name and her legend living on for centuries.

Joan outlined military strategies for the French army against the English during the Hundred Years’ War, and directed troops in several victories, including breaking the siege the English had been holding over the city of Orléans for months. She became a hero to her country, and helped lead Charles VII of France to the crown.

Reputation has always been something of importance, and it was Joan’s very reputation in 1429, upon her victory at Orléans, that inspired what is known as the Bloodless March. This historic military campaign was one that stretched through English occupied territory from Gien to the Reims Cathedral (where Joan would witness the coronation of Charles VII). Along the way, Joan captured every English occupied city and fortress that barred the road, and she did it all without shedding a single drop of blood and relying only on her reputation.

Although she ultimately met a tragic end, being burned at the stake for multiple charges including witchcraft, heresy, and wearing men’s clothing, her strength and courage still lives on and inspires others to this day.

JOAN OF ARC QUOTES:

“I am not afraid… I was born to do this.”

“All battles are first won or lost, in the mind.

“The poor folk gladly came to me, for I did them no unkindness, but helped them as much as I could.”

 

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Harriet Tubman (Women’s History Month Post #2)

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For my second Women’s History Month illustration, I chose to draw the ever-inspiring Harriet Tubman. I’ll be continuing to post drawings I’ve done of women who have helped shape history throughout the month as part of Cupcake & Machetes’ Women’s History Month Blog Event. (Be sure to check out her post to learn all about it and maybe even join in on the fun if you haven’t already!) 😉

If you’re familiar with U.S. History, you’ve no doubt heard this heroic woman’s name. If you haven’t, or even if you just want to possibly learn more about her, let me fill you in a little on Harriet Tubman and her amazing legacy.

Harriet Tubman cemented her place in American history by fighting back against slavery and freeing not only herself, but many other enslaved people through her work with the Underground Railroad. Her awesomeness does not stop there, though. She even became an armed scout, recruiter, and Union spy during the American Civil War. She became the first woman in United States history to lead a military expedition. And she managed to do all of this after being born into slavery in 1822, in a time when not only her race, but also her gender, were things that would be exploited and used against her.

She was a leading abolitionist, and devoted her entire life to fighting for the freedom of others. Her work was far from done upon the end of the Civil War. She then proceeded to put all she had into helping former slaves, as well as the elderly. Seriously, is it even possible for this woman to get any more inspiring? ❤

HARRIET TUBMAN QUOTES:

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“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t cay; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

Marie Curie (Women’s History Month Post #1)

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For my first illustration for Women’s History Month I’ve decided to go with groundbreaking chemist and physicist, Marie Curie. Above is my drawing (I’ve packed up 99% of my art supplies for an upcoming move, so it’s pretty bare-bones and not done with the best tools. I didn’t even have any pencils left out to sketch it out, so it’s all pen and dry erase marker. lol) Anywhoo, let’s get to it and talk about some of the reasons I chose this particular woman to shine the spotlight on.  And rest assured, there are plenty of other awesome ladies I’ll be posting about throughout the month, so this is simply the first. 😉

Born on November 7, 1867, Madame Marie Curie was a French-Polish force to be reckoned with who went down in history as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903) in physics, and later in chemistry. She also has the honor of being the first person (man or woman) to obtain Nobel honors twice. In other words, she was a genius bad ass.

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A pioneer in the study of radioactivity, Marie Curie along with her husband and BFF Pierre discovered two new chemical elements, radium and polonium (named after Marie’s birthplace, Poland) and helped advance therapeutic medicine and the use of X-rays with their tireless work. Can we say Science Power Couple? 😛

Marie was also fearless in the face of war, devoting her time and resources, as well as risking her life, by helping wounded soldiers in France during the First World War by forming mobile X-ray teams driving vehicles nicknamed “Little Curies”.

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She overcame many obstacles in her life, including refusing to be held down by gender-based education restrictions. Unable to attend the men’s-only University of Warsaw, Marie and her sister did whatever it was going to take to get their educations, including taking turns supporting one another, and Marie attended what was known as a “floating university” in Warsaw, which was basically an underground set of classes done in secrecy. Eventually she was able to study abroad, but her desire for the necessary schooling needed to chase her dreams didn’t come cheap, and she often had to choose her education over her own nutrition, frequently living on only bread and tea. Her sacrifices and determination paid off though, and she was able to pursue her passion in life. Not to mention the countless lives that have been saved over the years thanks to her discoveries and life’s work. Sadly, it is believed to be her very work that ended up costing Marie Curie her own life. Due to prolonged exposure to radiation both in her studies and while providing X-rays to wounded soldiers in field hospitals, she passed away from aplastic anemia on July 4, 1934 at the age of 66. Known by some as a martyr to science, she left behind one hell of a legacy and continues to inspire others to this day.

MARIE CURIE QUOTES:

“Nothing in this world is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so we fear less.

“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

“A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”

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Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month!

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March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the awesomeness of women. Cupcakes and Machetes had the wonderful idea to host a blog event to do just that, so of course I had to participate! 🙂

Her mission is pretty straight forward, so I’ll let it speak for itself with a quote from her post: “Let’s celebrate women. Every kind, in every way, in whatever way you see fit. For myself, I’m going to read only female authors for the entire month. My hope is that other blogs sign up to celebrate women in any way they would like to contribute and I’ll post weekly updates to these blogs and what they’ve worked on. Not only will this be great fun, I think it will be a helpful way to highlight your blog and meet other interesting people.”

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If you’re interested, head on over to C&M’s awesome blog and leave her a comment on her event post. I’m going to be joining in on the fun by illustrating different women who have left their marks on history in one way or another. I’ll try to squeeze as many as I can in throughout the month, along with short little bios explaining the things these bad ass ladies have accomplished and how they’ve helped to change the world and inspire others. I’ll also be posting reviews of comics that feature ladies as the protagonists. (My plans are to read and review Paper Girls, Lumberjanes, some more Giant Days, Bitch Planet and some more Rat Queens!) It’s gonna be a busy, lady-filled month of posts, and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully some of you will decide to join in on the fun, too! 😀

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Susan from Giant Days, a comic filled with delightful female characters.

 

Getting Festive

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Happy Holidayyyys! ❤ Today is Christmas Eve and with all the recent and upcoming festivities I wanted to squeeze some time in to pop in and say Merry Christmas since I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to tomorrow. 🙂

Last night we met up with my boyfriend’s family’s for their annual bake-a-thon, where we baked and decorated an arsenal of Christmas cookies. Shapes ranged from reindeer to unicorns and everything in between. Seriously, I mean everything in between. We also had an armadillo-shaped cookie and a penis-shaped cookie because inappropriate baked goods are funny. His mom also made these delicious pastries called Rugelach.

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We’re celebrating tonight’s Christmas Eve at my boyfriend’s parents’ house, and Christmas over with my family so I’m pretty excited. I feel like I did a lot of holiday stuff this year. More than I think I usually do, so while all the running around can be stressful and tiring at times, it did make for a particularly festive holiday season so far. 🙂

Some of the holiday highlights included:

Visiting a historical village’s Holiday Nights event. It was really cool walking around after dark, learning some interesting stuff and seeing the rambunctious “murmurers” in action. I didn’t know anything about this old “murmuring” holiday tradition, but apparently it involves revelers of the season dressing up in disguises to go house-to-house for food and drink and partying it up. So, it’s kind of like Halloween at Christmas for adults, except you get booze instead of candy. Not too shabby, in my opinion. Why the heck did we do away with this awesome tradition?

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Goings to an outdoor Kringle Market and shopping around for lots of goodies, including my new favorite dessert, The Christmas Kronut. This was my second year going, and although the crowd can be a bit much, I plan on going again next year. It was a lot of fun. 🙂

Christmas shopping for my loved ones is always a fun thing to do. I love when you find someone the perfect gift and then seeing the look on their face when they open it. I will say, though: I normally quite dislike wrapping the presents. It’s just tedious. lol My attention span has never been in it. I moaned and groaned the whole way through it, but I think I actually did a decent job wrapping gifts this year. I’m not known for my wrapping skills, in fact, I’m known for purposely wrapping the gifts in a manner that makes it look like a toddler did it. Or a drunk uncle. One or the other.

The work holiday party was also a lot of fun. I’ve mentioned before that I work as a program instructor at a day program for adults with special needs. I love my job every day, but seeing all their faces light up when they got to meet Santa Clause and taking our room caroling around the entire building was just so nice. We sang fun, upbeat songs like Jingle Bell Rock, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, etc. and had a bunch of fun instruments for everyone to play. We did a big potluck and since I baked a bunch of stuff for the last couple work parties I decided to take it easy on myself for this one and brought in rolls and made a some delicious Garlic Parmesan Butter to go with them.

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Minus some stressful family medical issues that have luckily since been improving, the last month of 2017 has been a pretty good one. 🙂 I’m excited to see what the new year will bring. I hope you guys all enjoy what’s left of the holiday season and have plenty of festivities of your own!

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The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls (No-Spoiler) Review

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This was such an interesting story, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. It had been hard to find (and pretty pricey!) but with the recent (and much more reasonably priced) addition of The Asylum to the kindle, there was no way I could resist snatching that baby up! Emilie Autumn has never shied away from discussing topics like mental illness and the history of abuse women have suffered throughout history in her songs and poems, and her book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls sure as hell doesn’t shy away from it, either.

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“Fight Like A Girl”

It’s hard to categorize this book into any one genre since it is written in a way that reflects the author’s actual time spent in a psych ward, but also tells the fictional and horrific (but sometimes darkly magical) tale of a fictional girl named Emily living in a Victorian era asylum. In the book, our author Emilie learns the tale of the Victorian Emily “with a Y” through mysterious letters she finds during her stay in the psych ward. I guess “Historical Magic Realism with a dash of Nonfiction thrown in for good measure” would be my best attempt at categorizing it? No matter, though, it’s just a really interesting story that discusses things most people choose to ignore concerning mental illness and the Victorian “polite society” so many people are quick to romanticize.

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If you’re already a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music, I’m sure you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect within the pages of this story. She’s got a dark and witty sense of humor, and she can weave words in a way that will both enchant you and disturb you. This story definitely reflects that. It has moments that will warm your heart and others that will rip it right out of you again.

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I really enjoyed this book and by the time I reached the second half of it I pretty much devoured the remainder of the story in one sitting, refusing to pry myself away until I’d finished. I would definitely recommend it, but will warn readers that it does discuss dark subject matter concerning suicide, rape, the horrific treatment people were subjected to in asylums like lobotomies and forced-hysterectomies, all manners of abuse, etc. It definitely takes some artistic liberties, but that’s part of Miss Autumn’s storytelling I’ve always enjoyed, so I embraced the fantasy-like elements along with the more gritty and realistic ones. Definitely glad I finally got to read this one. 🙂

And just for fun, here’s a lyric video of one of Emilie Autumn’s songs that serves as a satire about the treatment of women back in the Victorian era when it came to mental illness (please keep in mind that women could be institutionalized for all manner of things including masturbation, domestic troubles with their husband or family, and other ridiculous reasons back then.) A lot of things in this song might sound far-fetched by today’s standards, but treating those in asylums like zoo animals for the public to behold was a very real and messed up thing back in those days. History definitely isn’t always pleasant, but it is something we can (and should) learn from so we can better treat our fellow man and learn from our past ignorance.

Wonder Woman (No-Spoiler Review)

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“You fight like a girl” is an all-too-often-hurled insult in school yards, but Wonder Woman is a classic icon of female empowerment, busting through these sorts of stereotypes and taking names. I’ve been excited to see the new WW film since the first trailer came out and it instantly gave me chills. After the long wait, the film finally hit theaters yesterday.  I was beyond excited when, by some lovely twist of fate, my boyfriend got out of work early on Friday, allowing us to visit the theater midday before the crowds came flooding in.

First thing’s first, I love Gal Gadot in this role. She nailed her performance in my opinion. Everything from Diana first being exposed to “polite society” in London after being raised and trained among only Amazons, to her refusing to back down from what she believes in and not being afraid to get into the thick of things in order to do so. She did a great job, and was someone you want to root for and believe in.

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This movie is Diana’s origin story, before the world would come to know her as Wonder Woman. The events unfold under the backdrop of WW1, in war-torn Europe. Having grown up in the Amazonian paradise that is Themyscira, Diana has no idea of the ugly reality of war she is stepping into when she decides to go into battle.

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I really enjoyed Chris Pine as Steve Trevor and what they did with his character throughout the movie. Even though the movie is called ‘Wonder Woman’ he doesn’t fall into some lame sidekick role with no ambitions of his own. All the actors did a good job in my opinion.

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I don’t want to go into too many more details because it’s more fun to just go see the movie for yourself. 😉 I thought the film was really good, though, and I’m hoping to see more like this from DC with their upcoming films. *cough cough and maybe a Batwoman movie would be nice, too. cough cough* Just sayin’.