Thursday, December 11, 2014

Paparazzi, Jewelry, and a $5 Bill.

Hello world,

I am writing to you today to tell you all about all the reasons you should attend my online Paparazzi party. Normally we think of the Paparazzi as something totally annoying that Britney Spears likes to attack with an umbrella. Not today. In this case, Paparazzi is a jewelry company that provides high quality gorgeous jewelry for only five dollars! Amazing, right?

As you all know, I wouldn't endorse something I don't believe in, and I totally believe in Paparazzi and not just because I'm totally addicted to the jewelry they sell. At the last online party I attended I snagged two necklaces that both came with matching earrings (in fact, ALL necklaces come with matching earrings), a totally adorable hair flower, and a ring all for only $20! So far I've spent $45 on Paparazzi jewelry and absolutely loved every single piece! In fact, I've worn everything that I'm not giving as a Christmas gift! I'll post some pictures of the pieces I scored at the end of this post.

The best thing is, with an online party, you can do all the shopping from the comfort of your own home, or the student lounge you should be studying for finals in, or the metro, or literally wherever your phone or laptop or tablet will connect to the internet. There are games where you can win prizes (meaning, free jewelry [holla!]) and a chance to buy some completely unique jewelry that you KNOW no one else will have!

Also, for you skin sensitive people like me - all the jewelry is lead and nickel free! So far I haven't had any issues with the pieces I bought, which is really great, because I've had to reluctantly sell or give away many a piece of jewelry because I had an allergic reaction to it.

So! Here's the details you need to know.

  • My online party runs from tomorrow, Dec. 11 at 8:30 pm to  Saturday Dec 20 at 10 pm
  • All items will be posted by my friend Nicole Leese, an independent consultant for Paparazzi in the event group, along with how many of each item she has. If you see something you like, comment "sold". Nicole will keep a running tally of the things you have bought for you. 
  • All items cost $5, which you can pay with cash, a check, or through PayPal if you don't live in Okanogan County. 
  • Delivery and pick-up can be arranged for all Okanogan County residents. If you live outside of Okanogan County there will be a small shipping fee.
  • All you have to do is get your computer, phone or tablet ready, and join my party!
  • P.S. If you just CANNOT wait to look at the jewelry that Paparazzi offers, check out Nicole's site!


Alexis Olmstead is a 21 year old part time waitress, full time retail therapy enthusiast who believes life is too short to not look wonderful all the time. When she isn't splurging on jewelry and engaging in general tom foolery, she is busy crocheting and binging on Bob's Burgers. For more recommendations, rants, and updates on her life, check back often.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I know I talk a lot about how much of a disadvantage it is to be a girl in today's world, but today I want to make it known that I realize that I am privileged. I realize that because I am not a person of color I will never have to worry about the police brutality faced by POC across the country every day. I cannot truly understand just how awful Ferguson is, and I don't believe many white people can, because what happened to Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Sean Bell, Amadour Diallo, Oscar Grant, Kendrec McDade, and countless others simply would not happen to us. I will never be shot by a police officer because of my skin color. A cop will never pull me over if he sees me driving a nice car. I will never be treated as a thief if I go into a nice store. I will never in my life be racially profiled and so while I stand by the family of Mike Brown, and the city of Ferguson, I say that while I know the facts, I do not understand and can feel nothing but disgust over the fact that there are people in this world who still have to be afraid of cops, and with good reason.

I am disgusted by the handling of this case and the fact that Darren Wilson not only has seemingly gotten away with shooting an unarmed Black teenager in the head, but that people are siding with him. People are siding with a murderer because racial prejudice has gotten in the way of them seeing that Mike Brown did nothing wrong. Let me say that one more time. It is 2014 and people still believe that a black man has the right to die simply because he is black and also that his murderer should get away with it.

Darren Wilson was sent away on paid leave, during which time he got married. He feels no remorse for what he has done. Even men who go to war feel remorse when they take a life. If the rest of the world can see how wrong this is, why can't the courts in Ferguson? Why has nothing been done so that Mike Brown's murderer is brought to justice? Why are militarized police forces being sent in to shut down riots in Ferguson, Seattle, LA, NYC, and DC? You know who issued a statement about how awful the handling of this case was and how bad it looked for the United States? North Korea. North Korea is telling us that we are bad at being a country.

Wake up, racist America! Your way is obviously not the right way for our country!

I stand by those rioting to bring about justice for Mike Brown, and I support his mother in her endeavor to get the UN to do something about this horrible situation in which human rights have been blatantly ignored.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

18 Things Mark Saunders Needs to Understand (Because, Male Privilege)

The other day my friend Alexa tagged me in a post linking to this article titled 18 Things Females Seem to Not Understand (Because, Female Privilege). After reading the completely one sided and disgusting article, obviously written by someone who has no mother or sisters or female friends (yes, I think the author might be a mythical creature, that's the only way I justify such idiocy), I angrily crocheted a few dozen pairs of boot cuffs and worked up a response in my head.

1. Male Privilege is being able to walk down the street at night without having to have keys between your fingers because you're not afraid someone is going to rape you. No, not all men are rapists, but women cross the street just to be sure, because every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted and 80% of the victims are under 30. Yes, I'm going to cross the street when I see you coming, sir, I do not know your intent and I would rather not find out.

2. Male Privilege is being able to approach someone and ask them out again and again and again and again and only be called creepy, when if a woman did the same thing she would be called crazy, obsessive, a stalker, and treated like she was mentally unstable. Remember, people can live with creepy, but they shun crazy. Male Privilege is not having to worry about the fact that people think they have a right to your body. 

3. Male Privilege is being able to get drunk and not have to worry about being sexually assaulted. Male Privilege is being able to engage in sex at a party that you most likely want. You're not a rapist if you don't rape a girl. You are a rapist if you don't obtain legitimate consent. And the reason the girl is deemed innocent by default? Because of incidences like Steubenville, where a 16 year old girl went to a party, blacked out, was raped and then urinated on, then blamed for ruining three high school boys football careers when she pressed charges. 

4. Male Privilege is being able to turn on the TV and see yourself as something other than the butt of jokes in Sitcoms, the prize to be won in action movies, the scantily clad vixen in any male-centered film. Male Privilege is shows like King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond where a average looking slob of a man has a high-achieving wife that he still dumps on. Male Privilege is shows like Family Guy where women are openly mocked and exploited for the purposes of "comedy". It's the song "We Saw Your Boobs" that Seth McFarlane sang at the Oscars, its every gratuitous stripping scene in a movie that devalues the accomplishments of the female in the film and places her primarily as a sex object. Male Privilege is being able to see any movie and picture yourself in it as a main character, not a side-kick or comic relief. 

5. Male Privilege is being able to complain that women and children get saved first. The Birkenhead Drill is from the turn of the century and was A. made up in a book, and B. intended to mean that the most vulnerable members got help first. Is that still women? No. I know a few women who would probably have to save you in an emergency, even if you don't deserve it.

6. Male Privilege is not having to deal with the ramifications of abortion. Male Privilege is being able to do whatever you want with your body in terms of reproductive rights without it being a hot-button issue. You can get condoms for free, my birth control is so expensive that I couldn't afford it without insurance.

7. Male Privilege is being able to abandon a child and have society be okay with it because a man's place isn't in the home, its out working. Or because sometimes men just need to "sow their wild oats".  Male Privilege is not being expected to take care of a child you don't want for 18 plus years, and only having to pay child support, but not experiencing any serious consequences if you don't.

8. Male Privilege is not seeing 5,000 ads a day where at least 75% of them are related to women's beauty products. Male Privilege is not being expected to wear make-up and being labeled as "unkempt" or a "slob" if you don't. Male Privilege is being accepted at any size. Male Privilege is the reason the "average looking guy scores super model girlfriend" trope exists.

9. Male Privilege is the biggest contributor to rape culture that I know of. Male Privilege is "what were you wearing" its "you could just close your mouth and not give him a blow job" (google Don Lemon), its "she was asking for it". Male Privilege is "that test raped me", or rape jokes over Xbox Live, or in casual conversation. Men make more rape jokes than women do, because rape isn't a joke to us, it is a terrifying reality. Male Privilege is I don't know, NOT GETTING RAPED?

10. I'm not supposed to do anything in life except dream of marriage. Men get to be players and do whatever the hell they want. Male Privilege is the societal embrace of the bachelor lifestyle, and the overall shunning of the bachelorette lifestyle. 

11. Male Privilege is not going to prison for defending yourself against an abusive spouse. Male Privilege is being able to have charges pressed against you and saying it was self defense because your partner is "hysterical". Male Privilege presents itself in the 97% of rapists who never serve time, in the majority of domestic violence cases that are never reported because a woman is afraid of what will happen if she does report, in the 1 in 4 women who will become an abuse victim each year. 

12. Male Privilege is not being expected to be caring or empathetic. It is not being labeled as "cold" or "bitchy" when you don't display emotions as often as people think you should. Male Privilege is the lack of Resting Bitch Face as a label for men. 

13. Male Privilege is not being expected to get married and become a stay at home mother. Male Privilege is being able to be focused on your career and not your family and not be seen as a horrible spouse or parent. Male Privilege is being allowed to expect dinner to be ready when you get home, and having other men justify your anger when that doesn't happen. Male Privilege is being on the winning end of the pay gap.

14. Male Privilege is not being afraid that the cop is going to insinuate that a sexual favor will get you out of a ticket. Male Privilege is being able to get frisked without getting sexually violated. Male Privilege is not having to watch out for impostors posing as cops (yes it does happen) who are only out to become serial rapists. 

15. Male Privilege is not being targeted by administration when the school dress code in enforced. Male Privilege is being told that excelling in math or science is an innate ability rather than "the result of hard work". Female Privilege is not to blame for more men dropping out of high school or not getting accepted to college. Sexism does not come into play in situations where an individual is doing something for themselves. I cannot blame Male Privilege for dropping out of college. I am to blame. Sorry, Mark. If you didn't graduate you have no one to blame but yourself.

16. Male Privilege is having everyone listen to your opinion and just accept it, whereas women have to struggle and protest and literally fight for any chance to get their opinion heard or noticed and taken seriously on a national scale where politics and lawmaking is concerned. Male Privilege is being allowed to vote by default because men were seen as competent and for some reason, women weren't. I'm sorry, but did women shut down the government? No. Male Privilege is being able to have an opinion about what a woman does with her life and body. Male Privilege is being able to be taken seriously and not being seen as a silly, airheaded, bimbo whenever you try to speak up.

17. Male Privilege is being able to blame someone else for their sexist actions. Men can say that they are backwards and misogynistic because they were "raised that way". Women don't get the same luxury. Male Privilege is not being labeled as a crazed radical just because you want equal rights for your gender. 

18. Sexism is not an exclusive term. However, it is hard for women to claim that they are being sexist when excluding men from certain things because men make all the rules, call all the shots, and are the major voice in decision making in America. That's why there is a National Women's Day and not a National Men's Day. Men don't need a day to be celebrated and appreciated, they get that every day of the year. 

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something waitress and blogger living in Okanogan County, WA who spends way too much time crocheting, and not enough time onstage. She is currently working on her 15th pair of boot peeps, and planning her next big adventure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Introducing....Sassy Hooks Crochet

Hello, world. I am writing to you after a four day stint of nothing but theatre, work, and crocheting. I have just finished my first scarf, am about to move onto my second scarf, and figured the best way to market my skills and openness to taking orders to the world is by posting about it on my blog!

Sassy Hooks Crochet was born in my basement bedroom here in little old Middle of Nowhere, Washington, when I realized that hey, maybe I was sort of okay at this thing they call crochet. Originally operating under the name "Simply Hooked", I posted photos of my work on Instagram, because hey, free marketing (kind of like this blog post) and people started liking the crap out of what I was doing! Originally I was only making hats and headbands, but suddenly the demand for boot peeps (or boot cuffs) became large. So we (meaning I) expanded to include a whole new product. Then, to add some level of professionalism I started putting labels and care instructions on all of my finished work. I pride myself on being able to finish most orders within a few days, although a scarf I made for my sister took a few weeks, partially because I have never made a scarf before and had to start over.

I originally was resistant to making things I had never made before, but now I see it as a challenge. Part of my secret is that you can find a tutorial for almost anything on YouTube and/or Google, most of the population just doesn't want to make it. However, lucky for all of you extroverts with rich social lives, I enjoy spending my day sitting on a couch watching "America's Next Top Model" and making things for other people. In fact, I thrive on it.

I learned how to crochet at the ripe old age of ten, when my grandma sat me down and taught me how to make my very first chain. After that, I promptly became bored with the craft, lost my crochet hook, and didn't return to it until I was 20. And then I had to teach myself how to do everything else. And honestly, the frustration that comes from learning the slip stitch you thought you just did 55 times was actually a single crochet is worth it. Because now the things I make are actually good. I mean, that scarf on the left took me a week to make, but it is so comfy and pretty that I didn't even mind, plus it was the first thing I made without a pattern! I am now beginning my second scarf that is going to get shipped off to Wyoming, and I couldn't be more excited to experiment with designs more. Then I'm moving on to the rest of my notebook that is filled with orders from excited new customers (who I am proud to call my friends and family).

I am also in the process of setting up an Etsy shop. I know that seems like a fairly easy process, but when you sell handmade items and are primarily a made to order "business" making a lot of things in advance becomes the challenge, especially when you have a long list of people wanting things. So, taking a note from Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Girl and author of "#Girlboss" which I am currently devouring before bed each night, I realized I couldn't do it all alone and added someone to my team. So starting next year, Sassy Hooks will have two lovely ladies spending all their spare time working on fantastical projects just for all of you!

Now to the business side of it all. Below you'll find a price list and photos of projects (underneath my author bio) that have been completed for Sassy Hooks customers! You can find more photos of things I've done by following me on Instagram and/or searching #sassyhooks on Instagram. Customer photos are in that hashtag as well, so you can see people loving my products! Chances are, if I've made something, I've taken a selfie with it before I sent it out. I'm not even joking. I'm really proud of everything I make, because here at Sassy Hooks Crochet we believe in quality homemade items. If you would like to order something you can email me or shoot me a message on facebook, if we're facebook friends. If you don't live close by, no worries! We will ship your product to you, and the shipping and handling cost will be added to your bill, which you can pay for over Paypal.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something blogger, crocheter, and waitress operating out of Okanogan County, Washington. She spends most of her time listening to acoustic covers of pop music and watching "Futurama". She is currently attempting to navigate the 20something dating scene, but to no avail. If you have a son who is a handsome doctor or businessman or someone who can provide a lush lifestyle who I will also fall in love with, or if you are yourself one of those types of people, please email me with a headshot, resume, and list of your favorite things to cook. For more updates on my life and opinions on other things, check back often. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For The Last Time, I'm NOT AN EXTROVERT

Me after being around people
I would just like to state this in case anyone was confused, because a lot of people seem to be, I am definitely not an extrovert. Sociable, yes. However I am definitely an introvert. Let me explain.

To really understand the difference between an introvert and an extrovert, it is important to know that the difference between the two is where energy is drawn from. Extroverts get energy from being around people, they feel invigorated when around large groups of people, they feed off the energy of those they are with. Introverts are exactly the opposite. Being around large groups of people often makes the introvert tired, and they feel much happier being alone or with small groups of people. Introverts rarely see the importance of small talk, and are often quite horrible at it. They tend to over think insignificant details of social interactions and can be awkward at times. But these things vary person to person.

I am not an extrovert. I do not like being in large crowds of people. It exhausts me. Please see the photo above. You know what was going on around me? Full-Cast director's notes. There were 50 people plus the techies and production staff surrounding me and it made me so tired I had to lie down. That's not a joke. I freak out if it gets too busy in Wal-Mart. I'm horrid at small talk, because talking about important, relevant issues seems more important than the weather. When I'm alone I'm really happy, because Netflix gets me. I'm full of energy at home, because there is no one else there (except for my housemates, who are great. But there are three of them, versus thirty). I am an extremely social human being. I make friends easily, I can be chatty with strangers, I'm a waitress, for goodness sake. But I will never be capable of being a "social butterfly" or extrovert, for the simple reason that I cannot handle that many people at once. I have a core friend group of about five people, and I'm content with that. Also, that many people doing that many things, its so overwhelming. Like, I can stay relatively busy, but I like to be busy in places that don't have a lot going on, because I get overstimulated so easily its almost akin to ADD. Then I get frustrated, because I'm overstimulated and can't focus, and it's a vicious cycle, that's all I'm saying. Also, being out for too long is just so exhausting. I know my fellow introverted friends will relate to me when I say being out and about for too long can cause a literal shut down. I have been reduced to tears after spending too much time in a mall before, and I LOVE the mall. Being out expends a lot of energy I normally don't use up at home watching Futurama.

Here's a really important thing to realize about me: yes, I do theatre. Yes, I was a cheerleader. Yes I work in customer service. But when I'm performing, I'm not mingling. The most stressful part of being Dorothy was the meet and greet afterwards. I'm not even joking. I always get nervous and tried to hang out in one spot and (this is hilarious) try not to attract too much attention. The amount of people in the lobby was crushing me, metaphorically, and while its easy to be caught up in the spirit of just finishing a show, the fear of mingling and saying something wrong can ruin it all. Also, when I'm at work, because I'm a waitress, I often feel like I'm performing. Everything I say is part of my job, it's all kind of like a script to me.

So pair all of these things with my resting bitch face, my ridiculously light eyes that force me to wear sunglasses on even the most overcast of days and what do you get? Alexis. A very textbook version of an introvert, who happens to be able to hold a conversation.

Not all introverts are shy, and not all extroverts are outgoing. Learn it, love it, live it. I'm now retreating back to my blanket fort until I build up enough energy to go to the store for a soda.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something waitress who frequents senior centers looking for the ugliest sweaters she can find. She is currently prepping for Into The Woods auditions and trying to not overdose on crochet. For more rants, reviews, opinions, and useless facts about her life, check back often.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Senior Reflection Paper

12th grade me.
Photo by Shakanna Inman
I have thought about posting this for a very long time, now. I haven't because I have worried that people might think me self-indulgent, or pity me. But I have finally decided to post it, because this blog is a chronicle of my life, and my senior reflection paper, which is by far one of my most vulnerable papers I've ever written, is also a story of my life. So. Here you go.

    I remember that day like it happened last week. The rain is falling, and my daddy, his long legs stretched out, is walking away from our apartment. His long hair has been cut short so it no longer fits into a ponytail like he normally wears, and his once dark skin has long been bleached white from drugs. My mother, short and stalky, an ape compared to my antelope father, is standing outside the door, rain falling down her face, yelling at him. Daddy won't take Russell to the park and he wants to go. I can go, but Russell can't. Daddy won't take Russell for some reason, and Russell is running behind me and daddy crying. I don't care because he is my daddy, and Russell can't have him. Then my mom says the words that have come to haunt me every day for the rest of my life. "If Russell can't go, then leave Alexis here." My father, tired of the fight, puts me down and walks me back to my mother, the ape. With that, my father, his long graceful legs stretched out, lopes away. Without me. This is the last memory I have of my father. Flash forward ten years. In my mind, it happened the next day. I'm sitting in an office relating my life story to a police officer who is hurriedly taking notes, the principal who is working to keep up a manly facade, my counselor, who started crying twenty minutes ago, and my grandmother, who I have come to rely on most in my life. I sit in a tiny back office and tell them everything I have experienced, from being hit by my mother all the way to sharing a tiny room with three brothers and a dog, and having lice that never went away. The police tell me that I never have to go back to my mother again, and I tell there where all of her drugs are stashed. I finish up my school day and go home, to hear that my mother and her newest leech have been arrested. This is the last memory I have of the ape. In my mind, however, I have always been an orphan, and this has shaped me into who I am today.
    Growing up an orphan has allowed me to become very self-reliant. Whenever I think of myself as self-reliant I think of Shirley Temple saying "I'm very self-reliant, my mother always told me to be that way." Except it wasn't my mother who always told me to strive for independence, it was my grandmother. And because of my self-reliance I have succeeded in life. I'm graduating from high school, something that not many members of my family can brag about, and I'm not pregnant, which is more than my mother could say at my age. I have never felt worse than the moments in life when I forever lost my mother and father and I know that if I go about procreating I will ruin life for some other helpless soul. I am determined to succeed in life and be everything that my mother and father never were.
    On May 12, 2011 I am a typical teenage girl sitting in English class listening to music and texting. No I'm not supposed to be texting, but a crucial high school survival skill is learning how to text on the sly. I have become a functioning member of society, and I am driven to succeed in life. I'm so driven to succeed that I never stop going. I want to do everything, and excel in it. Until I was thirteen, I was never allowed to do anything, and once I got the chance, I kicked down the door to freedom and strutted through the empty frame. The world knew that I arrived. I have many insecurities, and I believe that these things come from my age. Every day I repeat the mantra of Captain Up from Starship, "When I look into your eyes, in the mirror, I get a pleasant feeling. You're not a failure, overall. You can laugh at yourself." I have been shaped by my past experiences, and I know that because of my drive to succeed and my self-reliance I can go anywhere I want to go in life.
    Now that I am about to graduate everyone expects me to look into the future and magically decide where I'm going to go in life. The answer I really want to give all the scholarship and college people is "hell if I know!" I know I want to go to Whitworth and get my teaching certificate. I know that I want to be a theatre and English teacher, and I know that I'll eventually graduate from college. But that's about it. No Mr. Schneider, I cannot tell you where I'll be in ten years, I can't tell you where I'll be in five years. I just know that I'm going to college, and that's all that I want, is to go college, survive, and eventually get a doctorate.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something blogger who struggles with the reality that she is in fact old enough to do everything except rent a car. She recently took her first big trip by herself and is now contemplating bigger and brighter things for her future. For more reminiscing, rants, and updates on her life, check back often. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Every single time it rains I picture your face. And every time I see a bottle of Chardonnay I remember the way you said "I love you" that first time, but didn't remember it in the morning. I remember how a week ago you kissed me with two lips too bitter from wine. Maybe that's why I can handle everything except red wine. Because seeing it reminds me of all the times you used it as a reason to forget my face. In the same breathe you once told me I should never change because I was perfect and beautiful and curvy in all the right places, but that a 5 mile jog every now and then couldn't hurt. You got me so drunk I threw up on the bed and then called me a drunk for a week. Told me I should never drink, if I was too childish to handle it. You told me your parents were getting a divorce, through words so slurred I could hardly make them out, so I stayed to help you, stayed to make sure you didn't get hurt, and you told me to get the fuck out and never come back.

It has been raining ever since I met you and will not stop until you are completely out of my life. Because you, you are chaos. And you are pain. And you make me fucking crazy. Never have I screamed at someone the way I scream at you, and NEVER have I told anyone they deserved the crazy they were getting from me. Never have I BEEN crazy. But you. Oh you, just drove me to the darkest place I had ever been and then expected an apology.

No more. No longer. I'm done.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Curbs, CUPS, and RouTEAM. AKA: Stuff I Tried in DC and NY.

The East Coast is a very happenin' place. Technology may pay a big part in the world overall, but as far as the US is concerned, I think the East Coast is more up to date on the trendiness of apps, phones, and all the ways we can make technology work for us and make our lives easier. So of course, while in Rome, do as the Romans, and try all their fun apps and websites.I imagine that soon these apps and websites will be coming over to the West Coast, and when that happens, I would like you to be prepared and know (in my opinion) what works and what doesn't.

So let's start by talking about RouTEAM. RouTEAM is a company based in Washington, DC that aims to help people live healthier lifestyles. Their website or "online marketplace" helps their customers set health goals and book classes for mental and physical health in the DC area. While this service isn't yet available outside of DC, it is one that could be come hugely successful nationwide as yoga and other healthy activities become more popular in the US. 

So....What About It?

RouTEAM's website is simple to use and clearly organized so that anyone can figure it out. While I had the upper-hand of having my good friend and employee of RouTEAM, Nadia Chilmonik,  helping me register for the website, I'm sure I could have figured it out easily on my own. The minimalistic design makes searching for yoga classes and reading instructor profiles an enjoyable experience, and one that doesn't take overly long. There are a variety of courses offered, and because we were on E Street, many were within walking distance of Nadia's apartment, which was a plus. So, after creating a profile and registering for a 6:30 am yoga class through the website, I was ready to go. Until, after not seeing my best friend for a year, I stayed up until 2:30 am talking with her and we decided maybe sunrise yoga wasn't the best idea for us. So on the plus side, cancelling a class is just as easy as booking it! When you book your class, it shows up on your profile. If you want to cancel, all you do is click the handy dandy "cancel class" link listed directly below the class title and time.

RouTEAM, please go public soon and come over to Washington State. This website is so handy, and for health and fitness buffs, a priceless resource. Instead of having to Google all the different places there might be class, all the locations are listed conveniently in one place, just a short walk or taxi ride away.

However, if you're going to take a taxi, do yourself a favor and do NOT use Curb (previously taxi magic).

Curb is an app available for download on iPhone and Android that allows you to book and pay for your taxi all from your smartphone. In theory, this is a very good idea and along the lines of Uber and Lyft. However, many users are saying when the app was Taxi Magic, it was just tops. Now, everyone hates it.

So....What About It?

Nadia, her friend Pooja, and I downloaded this app after seeing an ad for it in a taxi on the way home from the bus station, and realized with download we got a free taxi ride.

The only problem is, the whole point of curb is to put taxis back in competition with apps like Uber and Lyft (both of which work amazingly, by the way. However, a Lyft driver I had who works for both Uber and Lyft said the Lyft drivers and customers are friendlier. You heard it here first, kids).  However, what Lyft and Uber have is exactly what Curb is missing. With Lyft and Uber once you request a ride, someone is on the way immediately. With Curb, if no one is available who is registered with Curb, which is very possible since it was recently revamped, you are put on a wait list, which you aren't actually told about. The only reason I know this is because after waiting 20 minutes for a car, we called customer service and THEY told us that. We were also never told our ride was on the way, until they called and said they were out front of the apartment.

Then, once we finally got to where we were trying to go, the driver of the cab hadn't been instructed on how the app works, so they didn't know that we could pay from our phones. Which made things really awkward, and even more irritating. My suggestion? Give this app a few months or even a year to work all the kinks out and maybe try again.

Over in New York, we tried out CUPS, a coffee app that has just recently (as in about two years ago) come over to America (exclusively NY). The app allows users to find close-by independent coffee shops and get discounts on drinks with prepaid coffee plans. This app is beneficial to shop owners and customers, since the customers save money and the shop owners gain a larger customer base.

So.... What About It? 

The CUPS app works relatively well and even directs you to the nearest coffee shop that is registered with the app. Once you get to the coffee shop you enter a code and place your order. If you are wanting to call in, you can pre-order your drink, or order it in the store. We had just downloaded the app, so our first cup of coffee was free, but when we got to the shop in Spanish Harlem (about three blocks from our hostel) the barista tried to charge us for our drink and was not really sure how the procedure was supposed to go at all. From my experience, this app is brilliant and really great for local businesses, employers just need to make sure their employees are better informed. coffee!

Welp, that just about takes up all the time we have today at "Unwritten". Check back later for more posts!

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something living in Okanogan County and blogging from her basement bedroom. She aims to educate and inspire people with her blog, but is patiently waiting for her moment in the spotlight. If you would like her to review your product, please email her.

Author, Author!

I have always felt that writing a book about yourself is very conceited. I mean, it is easy to sit down and write about all the ways I want the world to think I'm amazing. To quote the great George Watsky "every time I write/I get to choose the angle that you view me and select the nicest light*". And to those gifted with innate writing skills, we can do a pretty good job making ourselves sound awesome. It just takes a few drafts to get us there. Anyways. I have felt for a long time that I didn't want to tell my story to the world, because I didn't want the world to think I was writing solely to gain attention. I mean, lets face it, the most notable thing that's happened in my life lately was I got fired from an overpriced burger joint (fear not! I got hired at a cute little restaurant across town). However, I do have a story, and I feel that story should be told.

Why? Because I think others can relate to it. Growing up in an abusive home makes you feel like you're on your own. Like you don't have anyone who truly understands you, because mom doesn't hit them when they forget to close the cupboard. No one but an abuse victim knows the terror that comes from seeing their abuser get upset at literally anything, and only those who have gotten out of the situation know how to help others escape from the nightmare that is their life. I escaped. I want others to know that there is a brighter day. And that's why, ladies and gents, I have decided to write a book. About myself.

Now, normally people don't tell people they're writing a book. I know that these things are kept hush hush until forced upon family and friends. But my book which will probably be titled something like "The Life and Times of a Nobody" is going to double as my NaNoWriMo project, and I am going to be spending a lot of time in the month of November not blogging here, and working on my book. Unless I magically figure out how to do both. You never know. I could be the master writer and write all the things. In one month.

Over the month of October I will be drafting the skeleton of my book, and working out how to start it. But come November 1st, off it goes, and hopefully by November 30th, we'll have a book on our hands. With all the focus on domestic violence and child abuse, and gender inequality that is happening right now, I feel like now, now is the moment to release my story into the world. NOW it will be heard and not ignored. My message of hope, survival, and sassiness will work its way around the globe and guide people through the dangerous situations they may be in and then, after I've made maximum impact, I'll curl up back in my hole, happy, and ready to hibernate.

So stay tuned, folks. "The Life and Times of a Nobody" is coming soon....ish.

*From "Tiny Glowing Screens Part 2"

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something born and raised in Okanogan County who aspires to do as much as she can in the short span of time she is on this Earth. You can check back here as often as you like to see what she has been up to, or what has pissed her off, because if Alexis is angry, there is a blog rant/opinion coming. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Evergreen Project and the Fight To End Domestic Violence

The Evergreen Project Logo. Design by T. Lewis,
Copyright T. Lewis/The Evergreen Project 2014
I have talked about Chandler on this blog before. Mostly about how wonderful of a boyfriend he is. But I never mentioned that he has gone out and added something to this world that makes it a little bit better and has made me the proudest friend ever.

In Chandler's sophomore year at the University of Washington, he and ten others created The Evergreen Project, "with the intent of raising awareness about domestic violence both in our community and our society". With a goal to raise awareness, educate and help victims and their families, The Evergreen Project has quickly become my favorite organization.

Speaking as a survivor of child abuse and a first hand witness to domestic violence, this is a resource that is sorely needed by victims. Because as bad as it sounds, many victims don't actually know that they are involved in something dangerous, or if they do know, justify the abuse in some way. When a relationship starts out rough and continues to be rough, it is hard to distinguish abuse from normalcy, especially since not a lot of domestic abuse educational systems are in place. What the Evergreen Project provides is readily available information and help for those in crisis.

"Hopefully by making the topics accessible and on the level of those we seek to educate we can help to reduce this epidemic that effects 1/3 of all teen relationships" Lewis says. "I hope to educate people about relationship violence by bringing the conversation to them about how to recognize warning signs and what you can do to help maintain healthy relationships". In this day and age, a lesson on recognizing abusive relationships is sadly, a necessity.
Founder Chandler Lewis appeared in
"The UW Daily" to promote The Evergreen Project.
Photo courtesy of Chandler Lewis/Instagram

In the wake of the Ray Rice incident, domestic violence and the consequences of it have suddenly captured America's attention in a way unseen until now. The conversation about abuse has been started, and helped along by organizations such as The Evergreen Project and loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline. Trending topics on Twitter like #WhyIStayed are showing the world that even though victims sometimes KNOW that they are being abused, they believe that they somehow deserve it, or no one else will love them, or their religion prohibits leaving their partner. Educating people early could save them from becoming another victim, another statistic, another Janay Palmer.

So thank you, Chandler, for tackling a very important issue and making the world a better, safer place.

For more information on the Evergreen Project, check out their Facebook or visit their website.

Alexis Olmstead is a 21! year old diva who hopes to create a blog so profound, popular, and relevant, that she eventually gets famous for being eloquent and opinionated. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dear Pregnant Drug Addicts -

Lately an alarming amount of young people are getting pregnant. And I realize that I am still technically a young person, but I'm talking about high schoolers. And in this community, where drug use and teen pregnancy are so prevalent, often they go hand in hand. So I'm getting to get really personal and really honest and address this to all of the drug using pregnant teenagers (and women in general I guess) of not only Okanogan County, but the world, really.

Dear Pregnant Druggies.

Stop. I know that letting go of an addictive life style is harder than it sounds, but if you are going to keep your child, stop. If you are pregnant and still using, stop. Do not bring your child into the hell that is your life of drug abuse. Do not force your child to deal with the consequences of your inability to cope with life. Get help from a professional, not a needle or a pipe. I sat in a one bedroom picker's cabin and watched my mother smoke meth off of spoons, watched her various boyfriends inject things into their arms, knew that we had drugs and a lot of them hidden in our air conditioner. In fact it was never turned on. It wasn't even plugged in. It was purely to hide drugs in. I never want anyone to go through that.

Unless you have lived through the horror that is being a junkie's child, you cannot know how hard it is to explain to your friends why your moms tongue "does that weird thing", why your house always smells a little off, why I can't have friends over unless their parents do drugs, too. Unless you have lived through the horror that is being a junkie's child, you cannot know what it is like to see someone go through withdrawals, what it is like to live a real live, tweaker who embarrasses you in public, who cannot drive and couldn't afford a car anyways because she has no job and spends all her spare money on drugs.

Do not go on welfare to get money for food and then sell the card for drug money. Your children will get so hungry they eat out of garbage cans. Their ribs will stick out of their bodies, they will stop being children and become sharp angles and growling stomachs. They will stop excelling in school because they are too hungry to focus on their work and one time when you haven't had anything in a couple of days you will tell your daughter no one gives a fuck she is the only one in the entire middle school with a 4.0. You will leave lasting damage on your children that will never go away, no matter what they do after they escape the misery you put them through.

Please do not force your child to one day sit in a small room and tell cops, teachers, and family where you hide the drugs, who you sell the drugs to, the amount of times they have been hit, or starved as a punishment, or made to stand facing the walls with their arms over their head for 10,20,30 minutes at a time.You may think that child abuse and drug abuse aren't related, but you are wrong. Do not submit them to the guilt they will inevitably feel when your neighbors child who they will go to school with asks them why their mother just got taken to jail, knowing they put you there. Do not choose drugs over your child.

Because if you do, one day, seven years later, you will pass your child on the street as she walks to work. She will see you and feel guilty all over again, knowing that you went to jail because of her. Knowing that two of her brothers went into foster care, and two live with their aunt and uncle, and she and her oldest brother lived with their grandmother because she couldn't stand it any longer. Because she got weak. She will feel these things as you walk by. She will wait for a smile, a nod, a gesture of recognition from you, her mother, and you won't recognize her.

Do not force your child to grow up by age 8 and then be immature after she is set free because she is experiencing childhood five years too late. Do not submit your child to the pain that comes with the knowledge that you couldn't tell her apart from the woman that rang up your groceries last night. Do not put your child through the hell that is a parents drug addiction.

If your are pregnant and using drugs, stop. Do not leave a defenseless being to deal with diseases and handicaps that are no fault of its own, but the consequence of you "needing just a little taste" to get you through the day. Do not leave your child's future adopted parents to deal with a little boy who has eyes hungry for the world, but is unable to control himself because you killed a part of him before he was even born. For you, drug abuse could be a phase, it could be a disease you overcome, meth babies don't just "get over" what they are born with. They can never outgrow the damage you do to them.

Take it from someone who knows.

Get help.
For your child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We gotta start teaching our daughters to be somebodies, not somebody's

"We gotta start teaching our daughters to be somebodies, not somebody's"* is the best quote I've read regarding self esteem in young girls and the advancement of women's rights in a long while.

Why? Because I was on a cheer squad with a girl who thought I was progressive because I wanted to go to college. On her cheer application she wrote that her biggest aspiration was to be a stay at home wife, "as women should". Because I have friends who find their self worth in the boys they date. Because women all over the world go their entire lives basing what they do, how they feel, and how they act off the opinions of men who have no idea what it is like to be female. Because I have been told more times than I count that some man is going to come along and tame me someday. Like I am a piece of property to be claimed by a brave pioneer. If that's the case, I prefer to remain the wild, wild, west. Thanks. Because when girls get raped there is a small amount of them who think it is their fault, not the rapists. Because women continually justify the abuse they receive from their partner. Because women still believe they belong to whoever they are in a relationship with, like a pretty thing, to be fucked and looked at, but never to feel, speak, or voice opinions. And until these opinions change and we agree as a whole that women are equal to men and belong to no one but themselves, we cannot achieve true equality with them.

That's why.

*Quote by Kifah Shah

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Alexis Reads "An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green

In case you haven't noticed, I've taken to reading books all in one sitting lately*. Tonight's three hour long adventure was John Green's "An Abundance of Katherines".  Also, because I have a life and work until around 10 pm most nights, I finish my reading around two am. That would explain these late night blog posts. But hey. I'm an adult I can do whatever I want.

Anyways, just like "Paper Towns", "An Abundance of Katherines" follows a young boy around graduating age. Colin is a child prodigy who is particularly good at anagramming. I tried to think of a witty anagram for this blog title, but it is two in the morning, and I'm not good at anagrams even when I'm well rested. Colin has dated 19 Katherine's in his short life, and been dumped by all 19 of them, most recently Katherine the XIX who dumped him the night he graduated from high school.

So Colin, the boy who speaks 11 languages including Arabic, and Hassan, his Arabic best friend decide to go on a road trip to cure the depression that quickly follows the end of Colin's 343 day relationship. The book is a chronicle of what follows. I'm not going to say what happens because I want everyone to read this book, but it is a great adventure where our main character learns what it means to love and be loved, and tries his had at writing mathematical equations that can predict the future.

Keep in mind this is definitely a YA novel. Although I am technically in that demographic (I keep forgetting I'm almost 21, come on guys), sometimes I feel like I'm a little old for these books. But whatever. Frankly, I would read John Green's grocery lists**. As such, it is a pretty easy read, which is more fun because it is one of those books where you can just read through it and not have to be a genius to understand the message the author is trying to convey. A prodigy maybe, but not a genius. I did feel at times that the main character, Colin, was a little bit annoying, but, then again children who win $10,000 dollars on a show that is basically "Baby Jeopardy" aren't the most socially adept human beings.

I also felt...I don't know. There's romance in this book but I felt that it was justified romance. I mean, one encounter happens on accident but then Hassan is so happy that something has finally happens to him that he just keeps going with it. Another happens because "TOC" is a scumbag. And the third, well, normally you see a romantic encounter coming. The sexual tension between the main boy and girl is evident, but in the end he isn't awarded a female for learning a life lesson, it is as if they are meant to be together. And that makes me so happy.

Even though Colin is a super genius - excuse me - prodigy, the reader never feels out of the loop. John Green does an excellent job of making sure that if there is anything said or mentioned that the reader might not know, be it a translation of phrase someone speaks in French, or the mathematical equation of the length of a relationship, it is information readily available to the reader. I never for a second felt like the book was being condescending towards me. And if you read a lot of books, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Sometimes there are books that you pick out for fun and after they speak in seven languages and ask you to solve a philosophical puzzle in the middle of the book you realize you need to go back to college and get your PhD and then MAYBE you'll be ready to try it again.

Weirdly, this book is also in third person. The book is told from an omniscient point of view, which surprised me when I started reading, because the other three books I've read by John Green are very, very first person narrator oriented. So it was a welcome change to his writing style and I quite enjoyed it. But in the end, it was John Green's ability to create characters that come alive and are relatable and enjoyable that really sold this book for me.

Alexis is a 20something part time waitress, full time diva who enjoys staying up late to read all the wonderful books that are being put forth into the world. She would like to thank Johannes Gutenberg for printing books en masse possible, and her pre-k teacher, Crystal Click, for teaching her how to read. If you have any suggestions for Alexis, leave them in the comments below!

*Not that they are particularly long books, YA novels never really tend to be, but I guess some people don't possess that focus and are therefore amazed that one can read a 215 page book in three hours while also snapchatting and browsing tumblr. Also, the cover totally advertises TFIOS which wasn't even published for another six years. I love reprints. Also this is a reference. Read the book. You'll understand after literally the first page.

**Also a reference. I'll send a coffee gift card to whoever tells me what its from. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Alexis Reads Veronica Roth's "Divergent" Series....and more!

Pictured: Me and my last paycheck
Welcome to Alexis Reads! A new thing I'm going to be doing on my blog where I talk about the books that I finish over the course of my day to day life. Since I read a rather large volume of books (ha) quite frequently, this should be fun!

To kick things off I'll be reviewing the "Divergent" series by Veronica Roth, which I'm assuming you already knew if you read the title. But later on, I'll talk about John Green's "Paper Towns", which I just finished about ten minutes ago.

If you are friends with me on Facebook you may have seen the review of this series that I posted on my Film Annex blog a few days ago*. While this review will be similar, because my opinions haven't changed, it may also be fleshed out a bit more. If you don't want to read that review again, skip a few paragraphs and go see what I thought of John Green.

Let me start by saying that I think that this trilogy is one of the most well-paced, action-packed, dystopian novels that I have read in quite a long time. Possibly ever. Following the success of "The Hunger Games" series, many more novels and series began to spring up in the dystopian genre, hoping to get them some of that readership. Because of this, I feel that the books have gotten a little...formulaic. Take one love triangle, a world divided by something, a post apocalyptic area of the U.S., a power struggle, add water and voila! You've got yourself a hit. I miss books and authors like Orwell and Huxley. Orwell has fully admitted to basing many ideas and themes for "1984" off of Aldous Huxley's "A Brave New World" and in that, there are many similarities to be found, however, the books are vastly different. There is almost no way to confuse one with the other. The differences between "Divergent" and "The Hunger Games" are not so staggering.

So I went into this series with a little bit of timidity, fully knowing that many of my peers had liked the book and had hyped it up to absurd levels. I was afraid it wouldn't live up to all of the amazing press it had gotten. I was in love by page three and finished the entire first book in four hours. I went back to the store the next night to by "Insurgent" and "Allegiant". One of the great things that I loved is that there are strong female characters that are central to the plot and easily are the most bad-ass out of all the characters. These are women you wouldn't mock, because you would be afraid they would eat you for breakfast. Raw. Yet, they are still women, they are still people. Oftentimes in the effort to create a strong female, her femininity gets left out, or her humanity altogether. It is important to me that these are characters who COULD be real, because as a reader, I related to them more.

The series employs a lot of devices and themes that are marks of the genre, such as separation of society, corruption amongst the lawmakers, coming of age (which is a more recent thing in dystopian literature again, because of THG series), and lots of action/violence. However, these are used well. The faction separation that Roth presents here is not only smart, but an amazing turning point to build a series around and she executes it flawlessly. Plus, no love triangle! For a brief moment in book one I thought a triangle might emerge, because one is hinted at, but nothing happens and the people who fall in love only fall in love with each other. There is no dramatic decision making involved. There are also excellent examples of racism and discrimination that make themselves more and more apparent as the books continue, leading to a (spoiler alert!) civil war. Because if we don't learn from history, it will only repeat itself.

From the non-whiny leading lady narrator to aptly described fight sequences that lead the reader begging for more, the "Divergent" series is a must read.

After reading a million quotes on tumblr from "Paper Towns" by John Green, I took a hint and went out and bought the book. Also, in case any of you are wondering, yes, my goal in life is indeed to start my own library. I am constantly at senior centers and yard sales looking for great finds. To date the best I've ever done is to by a book that contained four of Jane Austen's novels in it that only cost me three dollars. Some people just don't know what they have. Anyways.

This book is about growing up, leaving your small town behind, and I want to say being in love, but at the same time, it really isn't about being in love at all. It is about discovering that people aren't enigmas to be solved, they are just people. And sometimes, the adventure isn't in the execution. It is in the planning.

For a book about a boy who goes off on a search for the missing girl who he has had a crush on since the fifth grade, "Paper Towns" does an excellent job of not being cheesy. And if there are cheesy moments in the book, another character calls them out and we giggle together. Yes, I sit alone in my room and laugh while reading good books. Don't hate me because you ain't me. Anyways. I was really afraid towards the end of the book that this would end up as another "boy goes on long soul-searching journey and earns a girlfriend" type book, because I honestly hate those. But something marvelous occurs in this book. The boy doesn't really get the girl in the end, and also, the main character, who is a dude, is also totally a feminist (my opinion but if you've read the book I bet you'll agree), and there is more to the story than him just going on a soul searching journey. It is about realizing that for everything that people are, they are just people.

I read this book in about four hours, meaning all in one sitting, and I couldn't have been happier. Although it isn't a particularly difficult book to read (hooray for YA literature) you may find yourself experiencing secondhand emotions a lot, considering that the characters are so well written it feels as if I'm watching the action in the book take place in front of me, like a play.

All four books were fantastically good reads and a good showing of how good YA books should be written. Now on to "An Abundance of Katherine's" by John Green and another full week!

Have a book to suggest to Alexis? Leave it in the comments below!

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something waitress, diva, bibliophile who spends her days hiding in her room reading too many books. She is currently learning to paint her nails in the lines and perfecting her cat-eye liner. For more rants, raves, reviews, and irrelevant opinions, check back often. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

What To Do When Your Friend Is Dating a D-Bag

It's always exciting when your friend gets a new boyfriend (or girlfriend). It's like fresh water was added to the pool that is your friendship and you can have an outsider give opinions and honestly, sometimes new relationships can add a lot to the circle of friendship you already have. Unless that person is a douchebag. I'm pretty sure that we have all experienced this at one time or another. Your best friend brings over her new boyfriend because she thinks you'll love him and then it turns out their new S.O. is the worst person possibly ever. What do you do? Well dear reader, as a survivor of a friends recently ended 2 year relationship with a complete asshole, I have some helpful tips.

     1. Don't Blame Yourself

We're supposed to be there and protect our girls from dating these jerks. I know. But sometimes, no matter what you say or what you do, one falls through the cracks. Or he's a douchebag in disguise. So just know that sometimes you can't do anymore than you have already done and you can't blame yourself for her relationship. After all, it is her relationship and you don't have control over EVERYTHING.

     2. Practice Self Restraint

Chances are you're going to have to hang out with this jerk at least once. And he is probably going to offend you in some way, whether it is by continually making rape jokes while everyone in the room gets more and more uncomfortable, being blatantly racist against you in particular every time he sees you, or making fun of your obvious feminism, you're going to have to hold your tongue because this is someone your friend cares about. So do some conditioning. Or buy a journal. Or get a blog. Throw shade in a less obvious way than saying directly to his face "you're an acne scarred troll who knows nothing about anything and I kind of hate you so take yourself and the rest of your brony gang back to the place you came from and never come in my house again" is probably not the best way to keep your friend. 

     3. Never Be Fake

I only said you had to be polite. I never said you have to completely hide the fact that you do in fact, hate the human in question. Use your intelligence to undermine everything they say or do. This does in fact seem petty (probably because it is) but also just wait to your friend goes away for a bit and explain in great detail just how much a flaming asshole you think they are and that you only tolerate them because your friend is "in love" with them. Continually point out more attractive, generally better, potential dates to your friend in the presence of their S.O. ask them if they think your target would be a better match for your friend. 

     4. Don't Say "I Told You So"

Chances are you're going to tell your friend how much you hate their boyfriend. I know I did. Often. I also insulted his intelligence quite often because I believe that the only worse thing than a douchebag of a boyfriend is a stupid douchebag of a boyfriend. But when they inevitably start treating your girl bad and become a totalitarian dictator rather than a boyfriend, support your friend. Support her and tell her she is a free thinking woman who can do whatever the hell she wants and doesn't need any man to control the way she breathes, walks, and talks. This will make her significant other hate you more than he already does, but who cares? You're not dating him. However, don't rub it in her face that things aren't working out just like you said they wouldn't. She already knows. She doesn't need that from you.

     5. Give Her Strength

Sometimes the hardest part about breaking things off with a douchebag is that they usually stick around for a while. Like 2 years. I dated a douchebag for an entire year. Why? Why do we do that? Because we feel that no one will love or care for us like they do, even if they are rough about it. So when your friend says she is thinking about breaking with her ball-and-chain, give her the strength she needs to actually do it. Let her know that you will still love her, and that if love comes at the price of disrespect it isn't worth it. Be the wind beneath her wings. Let her soar. 

     6. Don't Blame Her

Wolves hide in sheep's clothing. Like I said earlier, maybe he was sneaky about revealing his douchiness until the very end. You can't blame her for making a bad relationship decision. She's only human and can't see through people's personalities. The only one who should be getting blamed for how horrible the douche was is the douche in question. 

Once you live out the relationship through to the end at your friends side, party. It's over. You did it. If she dates another asshole ever again smack her. But for now, take her out for some celebratory coffee and lunch. She deserves it after dealing with that jerk for so long. 

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something diva in the stage of life where everything is either awesome or awful. She believes that people shouldn't date until they're over 25 when their prefrontal cortex develops but hey. That doesn't stop her! You can find her in her room playing Sims and scribbling down blog ideas that she'll get to sometime next year. 

Things That Grind My Gears: This Week's Letter to the Editor

I rarely buy newspapers. Honestly, in a town as small as Omak, chances are I've already heard the news either because I saw it happening, or it's just gotten around town quickly. If I want a more factual report about any incidents, I'm probably not going to get one from the Chronicle because they run on gossip. I would rather save my weekly dollar than read stories about what someone THINKS happened. 

I would also rather not buy a paper that allows a letter to the editor that is title "Islam is the world's worst enemy" to be printed. A letter that spreads hate, a lot of lies, and and discrimination. By allowing a letter such as this to make the paper the editor, Roger Harnack, is admitting that he believes a small amount of the things printed in this letter, otherwise he wouldn't have let something so horrible go to print. 

I understand and believe in the freedoms of speech and press, but this letter isn't really a display of either of those things, it shows bad decision making in its purest form, and is an embarrassment to out-of-towners who might pick up a paper. I believe that a paper should be a representation of those who live in the area. And all this letter is showing is that we're all crazy right-wingers who believe that keeping peace with a group of people who have been labeled as dangerous in the past is a bad idea. Also, this just in: Obama and his "socialist enablers" follow the "Nazi program to destroy this nation" and "there is little time until the end of freedom". Yeah. You've been warned. 

So that you do not have to go out and purchase a paper that is not worth supporting here is the letter as it appears in the paper (Copyright The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle 2014 and that guy who wrote it, I guess). 

Islam is the world's worst enemy

     Islam, governed by the Koran as defined by its murderous prophet Muhammed, is the largest, longest-lived cult ever established on planet earth. 
     With its 1,400-plus-years worship of death, it leads mankind with acts of cruelty, terror, torture, rape and murder. If Muslims find no 'Kaffirs' to kill, they go to war with each other, faction against faction.
     Islam's six main branches are hate filled, mostly over minutia.
     Muslims, in creating an Islamic world Caliphate ordered by their deadly prophet, kill all unbelievers in the Mesopotamian Moon god, Allah, according to the Hadiths and murderous practices commited by Muhammad and friends in the 7th Century A.D.
     Their ideal medieval religous world consists only of Muslims with all other creeds erased from memory and all Christians and Jews in the world dead.
     Liberals, socialists, and the liberal press promote dialogue with these animals, but that is an impossible pipedream. One cannot talk rationally with religious terrorists whose only goal in life is to kill you through deceit and lies. 
     There are no moderate Muslims. America, under its President and his socialist enablers follows the Muslim Caliphate agenda and the government is using the Nazi program of the 1930s to destroy this nation. 
     There is little time left for us until the end of freedom and few care enough to cry a warning.
     It may be too late already.
- J.T.*

I have already drafted up several versions of a letter to the editor that I will be sending as son as I get the wording correct so that I can call out the editor for being dumb enough to allow this to be printed, and the idiot who wrote this letter for being such a discriminatory asshole. But maybe that's just the liberal in me talking. 

I encourage you to do the same, reader. If you live in the Okanogan county (and even if you don't!) and are as enraged by a letter like this going to print, write the editor a letter and send it to:

The Omak-Okanogan Country Chronicle
Attn: Letter to the Editor
P.O. Box 553
Omak, WA 98841

Just a quick run down of their policy: a letters must be under 250 words, include the name and hometown of the writer, and cannot contain any personal attacks or thank yous. They are also subject to editing (so don't bother saying you read about it here, they will take out that reference so that no one reads my blog instead of their paper, because apparently I'm a competing news source). Go forth, and start writing. 

*Name omitted to protect privacy.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something diva who lives in Okanogan County. She spends her days reading, writing, neglecting her blog, and getting angry about newspapers. For more rants, opinions, and irrelevant updates on life, check back often.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Carissa Lynn

Carissa Lynn always called me on my birthday. Usually around 6:00 pm. If she didn't call me, it was because she was with me. Every year starting on my 15th birthday she would call. It was tradition.

When I turned 16 she came to my sweet sixteen party. She had just gotten her hair done and wore a pastel pink dress. I remember because it was like a red one another girl wore. She came and brought me a gift card and danced with us. I think she spent the night.

When I turned 17 she gave me the shoes I had wanted since I saw them in the window at Payless and a card talking about how much of an adult I was becoming and how she was proud to be my sister.

On my 18th birthday she called me while I was packing to go to college. She stopped by a few hours later with a big hug and told me to go be the smarty pants I knew I was. She promised to visit.

19. I hadn't seen her all summer. She called me while I was getting ready to go out to dinner with my friends. I told her what I was doing that and she told me to be safe and not to drink. I laughed. My sister the party hard told me not to drink. She told me she loved me and that I better come home and see her soon. I didn't come home until December.

On my 20th birthday I waited for her to call. I waited all day. The night before she had promised to come to my birthday the next weekend. She never called.

She'll never call again.

It has been eight months since my sister died in a car accident the day after my birthday. I will never hear her laugh again. I will never watch her pout because something isn't going her way. I'll never sit in a room uncomfortably and text her when she's sitting two feet away again. We won't take anymore goofy selfies, we won't talk about boy problems, we won't go shopping or go on road trips or talk about how hard work is. She can't drag me along on her adventures anymore. She can't go pub crawling with me on my 21st birthday like she always wanted to. She will never know that the day she said she would come to my birthday party I hung a picture of her on the wall in my bedroom so she could see how much I cared about her. She will never know how much I miss her every single day and how unfair it is that she left me here without her. She will never see how good I'm getting at photography. I know she would have enjoyed that last bit because she always had to have pictures of herself wherever she went. She needed her own personal photographer, honestly.

And sometimes I think I'm over it. Sometimes I feel like I've adjusted to life without her. But then I hear a joke or see someone or hear some gossip and think "I have to tell Carissa". Sometimes I start to text her that I miss her and that she should come over soon only to realize that she isn't staying away because life has occupied her. Sometimes I see pictures of her on Facebook and I cry just because I remember those days and those pictures and how she was when they were taken and she was so alive and there was a guarantee that she would be there the next day hanging out and now she isn't there, and she isn't alive and I know I am selfish for thinking about all the reasons her life benefited mine,  but that's why we miss people and don't even argue this point with me. We miss people because we miss what they add to our lives. Carissa added a lot to mine, whether or not I liked all of it is a different story for a different time, but I miss her. I miss my Smalls.

She hated it when I called her that. But to me, she will always be Smalls. And to me, she will always be my sister, even if its only in our hearts. I miss my sister.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The B Word and Women Who Live Up To It.

The other day I was explaining to someone that above anything else, I hate being called stupid. "You can call me a bitch, I don't care, but don't call me stupid" was the phrase that came out of my mouth, actually. And this person gave me the strangest look. I could tell they didn't understand why the word bitch doesn't offend me. I can understand why it is supposed to be offensive, I guess. But the word bitch is such a petty word, and people like to sling at me when I'm working to achieve a goal, or I'm trying to get a group of people to do something, or attempting to be productive and do things with my life.

If I were a man, no one would call me a bitch for attempting to get ahead in life. They would call me driven, motivated, a natural born leader. I would have a good head on my shoulders and other such cliches. If I were a man and got called a bitch, someone would be attempting to make me send feminine because I wouldn't ask a girl on a date or something. Bitch is a word used against women we are trying to accomplish things and act like men, but then used against men when they act like women.

But if getting shit done and going somewhere in life means I'm a bitch, then hell yeah. I'm definitely a bitch and I will own that. And yeah, sometimes people call me a bitch because I tell the truth and don't normally filter myself, but why live life tiptoeing around people and trying to sugar everything up? It is easier to be blunt and honest and live truthfully than to just dance around a topic and hold everything in until it explodes in your face.

You know who else is a bitch? Hillary Clinton. A lot of people don't like her and say she is bitchy and rude, and bossy and just awful. You know what else Hillary Clinton is? More powerful than you. That Pants-suit aficionado can be bitchy as much as she wants, when you're the ex-secretary of state and were so good that people are pushing for you to run for President because you're (in this blogger's opinion) that amazing, you can be as bitchy as you like. If Hillary was a man, people would just say she was good at her job, that she was a good politician, that they would be upset if she for some reason didn't run for President in 2016. But no, poor Hillary has to be a woman and get called a bitch for being a damn good politician and then get questioned on whether or not she would be a good President because she's a new grandmother. OHMYGOD.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and an advocate for gender equality has been being called a bitch since she was in law school, before she was sworn in during the Clinton Administration.

Think of a powerful woman. Chances are, she has been called a bitch. Because in this society, people cannot handle women having more control or power than men. But, as the wonderful Tina Fey and Amy Poehler put it, "Bitches get stuff done!". So go ahead, call me a bitch, I'll see when you're washing my car.

Actually, stop using that word in a negative way because young women are afraid to pursue careers in politics, or law, or any field where they could be called a bitch, or bossy, or cold, or aggressive. Reporters will call a woman a micromanager and in the next sentence, regale a man for working tirelessly to make small improvements. Women "complain", men "address tough issues and seek solutions". Women are bitches, men are leaders. Women are bitches, men are assertive. Women are bitches and therefore unfit to be hired for high ranking positions, yet men have anger issues and are seen as hard-asses who will get the job done.

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is no, calling me a bitch will not offend me. Because to me, and because of the way that society has twisted that word, it means that you are just afraid that I am going to be more powerful than you someday. Which is probably true. Call me when I'm the tyrant of a small island. But the word bitch is actually harmful to young women who maybe are more fragile. So stop calling girls bitches because they are doing better than you and just start trying harder.

Alexis Olmstead is a 20something living in Okanogan County who frequently stays up too late and writes barely understandable blog posts. Mostly because of the fact that it is 1 in the morning and at this point she is just doing a stream of consciousness thing. Which is really hard when you're half asleep. For more nonsensical ramblings about hot topics, check back often. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Getting To Know Me

I've gone through a lot of phases in my life, and sadly, most of them have been in an attempt to fit in with people. Because for a long time all I cared about was being included. I know I preach a lot of individuality proverbs, but it is because I took a long time to figure that out for myself. Sometimes I think it was easier to be in 7th grade with a solid group of four friends so I didn't have to try to fit in with so many people in so many circles.

I've always told people that I pride myself on staying true to me, but that hasn't always been the case. I've been an extreme socialite, I've been the class flirt, I've been the teachers pet, I've been the funny girl, the mean girl, the extrovert. And while I may be some of these things to a certain degree, telling the world that I am absolutely any of these things isn't exactly true.

It is time I became fully aware of my true self. And while I may be a far way off from fully developing as a complete being and adult (come on guys, I'm only 20), I can aid in the process so as not to delay it any longer.

Who am I?

I am someone who sits alone in their room and crochets coffee cozies while binge watching Netflix because it seems like more fun than putting effort into small talk with an acquaintance. I hate small talk. It terrifies me. Because I hate small talk I am often awkward. There is nothing wrong with being awkward or not liking small talk. It is a sign of the introvert. Also, in case anyone was confused, I am actually an introvert. I am REALLY bad at flirting. I used to pretend I was good at it, but no, let's face it. I'm awful at it. I told a guy the other day that when I was famous he could be my butler. I was so embarrassed I escaped as soon as possible. I practice jokes in the mirror so I don't stutter when I deliver them. I constantly fear that people won't like me because I'm kind of weird. I love to write. I love words. I love that words can be made into something beautiful, and don't think it is fair that not everyone is good at writing. I believe that writing is the most amazing form of self expression there is. I love reading. I used to read three books a week. I used to try to read three books at a time, even. I stopped reading three books a week because someone made fun of me in middle school for being a book worm. You don't think words have lasting effects? Tell that to 13 year old me. I cry really easily, especially in stressful situations. I stress out really easily. I mean, REALLY easily. I get over things pretty quickly, but I'll stress about them for at least five minutes first. I am a survivor of child abuse and hate to see children hurting in any way. I don't like to be touched unless I initiate the contact. I'm not really that mean, I'm just too witty for my own good and I hate to be called stupid. Seriously. For some reason that is what people attack first. They never go after the way I look or how I talk or how I dress, they jump to how dumb I am, and I am so proud of my intelligence and my capabilities in the world of education that I get insulted super easily. In fact, most of the reasons I tell people off is because they have called me stupid or talked down to me. I refuse to let people talk badly about my friends or family. I have a big vocabulary and I am not afraid to fight with words in order to protect their honor. I'm the baby of the family, I'm a grandma's girl, and sometimes I get really lonely and sad. I want all the attention all of the time but also I really want to be left alone. It is a tough predicament. I love the smell of rain and the way grass smells after it has been cut and the sound of my friends laughing. I like giving gifts and I hate opening things in front of people because I don't know how to react. I am afraid that I will let people down and they will give up on me. I am afraid I will end up like my mother. I know I won't, but it is still a fear that I have. Sometimes I am so angry about the way I am treated because I am a woman that I literally cry. I think Femi-Nazi should be a dirty word. People used to tell me that I reminded them of my missing father so much that I tried to become him. I am not my father. I'm just his daughter. I can usually find humour in most situations, because if we don't laugh at ourselves how will we survive? I started a clothing donation project purely because I saw a girl at a choir concert look embarrassed in her sweat pants and I went home that night, knowing exactly how she felt and cried, then vowed to make a difference. I am happy, most of the time. I may have a somewhat bitchy looking face, but I love laughing, and being joyful, and enjoying life. I might be a little crazy, and I might be a little weird, and I might be an introvert, but I am a wonderful person.

I am Alexis Marie Olmstead and I refuse to try to be anyone else any longer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Am Not a Failure

I am going to warn you in advance I'm posting this from my phone, therefore the words and grammar and such may be wonky. I'll fix it later. 

Sometimes I feel like a complete failure. I look at my life and what I've accomplished so far and I feel awful about myself. I haven't gone back to college yet, I've never done anything astounding with any of my talents, and right now my goal in life is to pay the bills. I mean, I have dreams, but sometimes I think that everything I've ever wanted is just going to be a dream. I feel like I'm going to be a small town nobody. Because this is one of my biggest fears, I think about it constantly. 

But at times like these someone usually comes along and makes me feel better about the situation. But recently, I grew up (I know, right?). And I have discovered that sometimes you have to be your own best friend, your own shoulder to cry on, and your own inspiration. 

So whenever I start to feel like a failure I remember a laundry list of reasons why I'm the exact opposite. 

When I was 13, I reported my mother for child abuse and saved myself and my brothers from a life of terror. 
Until I was 13 I played mother to my two you get brothers and made sure they were on the bus everyday for school. I taught one of them to read. I did the cooking most nights. I did all the cleaning. I played parent to myself. I made sure that my homework and my brothers got done before we went to bed, I made up all homework that I missed from being forced to stay home and take care of my brothers.
A little girl told me once she wanted to grow up and be like me, and as much as that scares me, someone saw something in me that they wanted to emulate forever . 
I have never been turned down for a job. 
I make all my money and pay all my bills alone. I paid for the schooling I did receive and I pay for the student loans leftover from that year. 
I have beautiful eyes that light up when I smile and people tell me that my smile makes them want to smile, too. 
I'm a damn good writer. 

I feel that everyone needs to know that they are not a failure. Even if you're not where you want to be in life, you are amazing and even though we are taking the road less traveled to our dreams, we will make it. I swear. We are amazing, reader, and we are inspirational, even if we are only inspirational to ourselves. I inspire me to be a good person. 13 year old me did everything she could to be a successful human being, I refuse to let that little girl down. 

I am not a failure and in the dark nights where I sit and think I am, I'm going to look back on this post and remember that I am indeed an okay human with a future as bright as I want it to be. 

Alexis Olmstead is a full time diva and a part time waitress. She is currently starring in OVOC's "Wizard of Oz" as Dorothy while trying to get to the other side of her personal rainbow.