S2 Eats + Awareness Project: Entering New Waters

In the next coming months, I’m going to launch a HUGE project. And I mean HUGE. And it involves food. If you know me, or have gotten to know me, then you shouldn’t be surprised by this at all.

This past Saturday, I found myself in a magical place. It felt like a home actually. It is a shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, named Archestratus, that is part cookbook and cooking related books book shop and also a cafe/restaurant. They host Blue Plate Dinners every Thursday night and a monthly Cookbook of the Month Club. The owner, Paige, is incredible and so nice. We got to meet her yesterday and talk to her and well, can we say “friends?!” all together?

I told her quickly about this project I’ve been working on and said to her pretty confidently as we continued talking, “when my project is ready, I’m calling you.” She was completely for it. And I now know where most, if not every event I host in NYC for “CIC” will be located.

I should also mention that I was with a friend of mine and a teammate for a project I’ve been working on as part of a program called Do Tank in NYC. Sana is her name and she is a fellow food lover. We talked and walked around the books and carried a ton to a table and shared food while talking to Paige. Sana is going to end up being a much larger part of this project than even I am aware of right now. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know yet what her role will be, but she will have a role. It may even be in the form of representing Pakistan.

Anyhow, this idea that I’m vaguely sharing with you now has a ton of moving pieces and a few people, all whom I trust with my life involved. I have a cousin helping with logo and branding design, my brother and his best friend involved in videography, another friend and past roommate willing to help with web design, my mentor as a board and planning member, and my Mom, too – she’s cooking. I’m sure I will bring on many, many more people, both trusted and untrusted. That is how you bring about change, after all.

This project has been in the works since the summer of 2014. That is the summer that Israel and Palestine were at war and the summer of the massive influx of migrants traveling from Central America to the US to get away from heavy gang violence and crime. Those migrants were children, many of them traveling alone, whose parents probably took loans out that they still cannot afford to get their child(ren) across the border to saftey. With both of these instances, for the first time in a long time I looked at the world and thought, “what the fuck is going on?” It may also have been the first time that I truly felt as though I needed to get involved. That my voice needed to be heard in a constructive manner. It was also a point when I realized that no matter what I do in life, my life has to be used to help stop the injustice of others.

Now, I’m not promising to change the world completely. No, that requires collective force. I am, however, proposing to use my stationery company, design skills, and extensive communication background to help shift and shape appreciation, acceptance, and change. This is daunting. It cannot be neatly designed. I am bound to offend many. I hope to impact many more.

To get this started, I’m sharing a collection of photos of foods that I’ve recently created over the past few weeks and months of putting “CIC” together. I have a long road to go, but food is the of the main focal points of this project. From this post onward, one a week will be dedicated to a recipe – some food(s) I’m devouring religiously, experimenting with as I develop and perfect, and/or am inspired by – I cannot promise that these recipes will coincide with exactly what I’m working on, but they will help build connection for when it is ready to be released into the world.  (SOON!)

Saturday night, as I walked around Archestratus, I thought about my life and the wild ride it’s been thus far. I thought about how food has always been a focal point in my life. I carry a lot of weight because of my relationship to food, both good and bad, but this project isn’t about that. No this project is about the nourishment food brings us all, across cultures and countries and religions. My unofficial slogan for this project is: “Even the most immigrant hating Texan eats tacos.” This project is about that element that brings us together even in our fear, differences and hate.

Walking around Archestratus allowed me to remember my abuela Herminia, who was a strong and rebellious female who created change in her own way. I thought about being a three and four year old helping make Honduran tamales with her and my mom. By helping, I really ate most of the ingredients and would annoy her, but my abuelo always had extra as backup. I still help my Mom make tamales every Christmas and the legacy continues. If I ever have children, they will learn and my soon-to-be three year old niece, will learn soon.

This is what life is all about. It is about the changes we make individually as well as collectively. It is about passing down our histories, cultures and family stories. It is about connecting over the pieces that make us all human. I hope you’ll join me for this journey. I hope you’ll help me share these stories and cultures and histories. I hope you’ll help shift your conscious as well as the greater conscious. Most importantly, I hope you’ll enjoy this.

To learn more and stay up to date, you are invited to sign up for our the newsletter on the Awareness page of the S2 Stationery website. (Scroll to the bottom!) You’ll get the good, juicy bits when you do…think of it as the fond at the bottom of a pan of caramelizing onions, or from a roasted chicken. Yum!

Until next week, keep your stomachs a bit empty, your hearts full, and your mind open to expansion and food. And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter!!

 

 

 

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S2 Awareness Projects: S2 Stands for Choice

WOMENSLIB3

Today is a big day in the world of women’s rights. The Supreme Court of the United States is hearing oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which will determine how far states may go in regulating abortions without violating a woman’s constitutional rights.

As you know from announcements made earlier this year, on this blog, S2 is a liberal heart with strong opinions. I’ll admit when I’m wrong. I’ll always tell you if I change my mind, heart, and/or story.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my beliefs are my beliefs and I don’t believe that those beliefs should be the same as your beliefs, but I do believe that my beliefs shouldn’t be questioned as moral or unmoral. Sure, there are instances where we should raise questions about morality – murder is one of them, but we should also question whether state induced murder is moral as well, or if the killing of civilians during unnecessary war is moral.

The underlining point in most of our morality issues is religion. It is a matter of whether or not you believe that your faith in “God” is more than every other individual. If we removed this notion of your faith being above another, we might have real conversations about real issues. Instead we fight about things that don’t really require the amount of hate, venom and anger they foster.

Oh, for the record, I do believe in A God.  There are women with “morals” that had a belief system that still believe in choice and the ability to determine whether something is right for me or not. That believes in my body as a part of the greater world and understands that my intuition that guides me is as much a blessing as an answer from the spirit that oversees us all.

The reason I believe in choice is because I maintain that it is my body. It is not a body to inflict morality on. It is SOLELY mine. As long as I’m not murdering a child or adult, or whale or deer, etc, or purposely filling the air with methane from a massive leak or allowing tons of oil to spill in our water ways, I don’t see how my decision to abort a fetus is any concern of yours. In fact, because our Country is so hateful toward people who are poor, broken, and downtrodden, I would assume that my decision to abort would be a blessing to those who don’t want the tax burden of taking care of another individual. Clearly I’m wrong. Everyone, especially men, want to be inside my uterus and inflict their morality on it. Enough is enough.

Anyone who thinks that denying women a voice or choice or decision-making abilities and disguise it as “health care for women” is sadly mistaken and wrong. As I keep telling people, just as I don’t judge you for having one or more kids, don’t judge a woman for having an abortion.

Oh and back to that morality point – IF we want to talk about God and morals, lets talk about how it is low-morality to judge another person. Jesus took in Mary Magdalene and she was labeled all kinds of immoral. In my eyes, she is the 13th Apostle that nobody cares to talk about.

I’ve digressed. I’ve ranted. This is my blog after all. But all of this is to say that today, March 2nd is an important day. Our Supreme Court can once again change the course of women’s rights and health with one decision. We will all be effected by their ruling in the coming months.

And so I share several things:

  1. The S2 Awareness Project Planned Parenthood Cards that are available on Etsy. Half of your purchase will be donated to Planned Parenthood to help continue their much needed work.
  2. Today, I donated $50.00 to Planned Parenthood on behalf of customers who purchased card sets and individual cards when they launched in late 2015. If you are inclined, you can donate to Planned Parenthood directly without making a purchase. What matters is that we continue to fight for our rights.
  3. I highly recommend that you read the following overview by The Washington Post of the oral arguments heard by SCOTUS today.
  4. I also highly recommend that you watch this video of John Oliver explaining the state of women’s choice and abortion in the US.

By all means women should have safe access to healthcare, but attacking women, stigmatizing them with guilt and shame, and forcing women to act in a manner that is not for them is not helping anyone, including this debate.

 

What Makes You Uncomfortable?

Last week, within minutes of posting my blog about the “Women’s Choice” Statement Cards, I received an comment about my project. It was from a gentleman I hadn’t heard from in quite some time. We met back in 2011 at a conference that the company we both worked for hosted. He is a great guy, from what I remembered and I was happy to hear from him.

Of course, what he had to say was a not what I wanted to hear, but that comes with the territory when you decide to speak things and of things that no one else is comfortable talking about. I would like to believe that I responded to his email as compassionately as possible. That I wasn’t rude, or mean, or flippant of his views. That was not my intention.

Post launch of my first S2 Awareness Project, I started to wonder why is it so hard to hear things we don’t want to hear. Why do we take this personally? Why do we shun each other or, rather, stop talking about the important things because of our response to criticism or opposing views?

It made me wonder what else are we afraid of talking about? What else makes us uncomfortable? Race is already a given. Abortion equates to going to hell. Politics, I can’t even begin there. Gun violence and control gets the militias on attack.  I know there are countless other topics that are worthy of real, honest conversation, but we aren’t talking about them. So what are they?

A few nights ago on NPR, I was listening to a segment and they mentioned in regards to the topic of racism in education that people need to open dialogue about the real issues behind the problems. To give you more background, they were talking about how in one particularly diverse town, the school system is segregated. You would see White and Black and Latino kids walking around the halls together, but in the class room, all the white kids were in AP/advanced courses and all the regular classes were filled with Black and Latino kids and no one was talking about it. The administrators who could see the problem could not speak out because the parents of the White kids would object. As the writer behind this story kept talking about how the parents in this town need to keep talking, all I could wonder about was how many times have I heard this? We have so much to talk about! When are we going to talk? When are we going to stop worrying about how racist or mean or ugly we seem/sound and speak what we need to speak? How much are we all holding in? What would your truth sound like if you could afford to be vulnerable?

The first part of change is admitting something. So let’s admit to each other, “What makes me uncomfortable…” You can email (saras [at] s2stationery [dot] com) me if you don’t want to leave a comment below. You can tweet me what makes you uncomfortable with the hashtag #Iamuncomfortableabout.

I promise I’m not in this to judge. Nor am I going to make a card for all of our discomforts. Instead, I am going to see how we can break our discomfort and come out on the other side a little bit more victorious. It could be interesting, or disturbing. We’ll see.  I look forward to hearing your truths and discomforts. Let’s build this bridge piece by piece.

Celebrating Choice, Protecting Women’s Health AND Rights – S2 Stationery Awareness Project “Women’s Choice” Statement Cards

The past few weeks that have seen the attack on women’s health issues that has left me enraged, personally. This week alone, Texas has completely cut off all funding to Planned Parenthood. Not only is this disastrous for women in Texas, it sends a message to women across the entire United States that their health and well being is not a concern for this Country.  Let us be clear here, without women and proper health for women, this country will die. Women are necessary for life. It’s time that we command the respect we deserve and demand the full rights of our own bodies, whether or not those who oppose agree.

Being an entrepreneur I decided it was time to channel this anger into action. Normally, I’d be inclined to donate money to an organization, but decided I needed to go further. Donations are great, especially when one of the largest organizations is under attack and can and more than likely will lose much needed funding, but I, personally needed to do more. This naturally gave way to the launch of S2 Stationery Awareness Projects, which I wrote about on this blog yesterday afternoon.

I’m pleased to announce the first project under this division of S2 Stationery & Design – “Women’s Choice” Statement Cards! More details about them are below, as well as the links to buy on Etsy, and a little bit of information about the mission of this project. If you know anyone interested in these cards on a large scale, please contact me via my website. Let’s make positive change happen!

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Women’s health is not something that should ever be taken for granted! The United States, while definitely one of the countries that allows women many freedoms, continues to play with our freedoms, emotions, and health. It’s time to take control of our bodies, our health, and have our voices heard!

Ever a feminist, Sara Stroman, the S2 behind S2, decided she could no longer sit back and allow the rights of women to be taken away without some action. She didn’t have to look much further than her stationery business to find her “action.” Working with a good friend, who takes witty to many different levels, Peter Budka, she designed the six cards you see below. Each is printed on the bright color, heavy card stock you see photographed. You can order them individually or as a set. They come with a Kraft paper envelope. They can be traded or shared or given away. Hey, you should give them away! Mail them to your Senators and Congressmen even! These cards are meant to share your voice no matter your age or gender.

Single cards are $4.75
“Have you heard of women’s liberation?”
“When life gets tough for men”
“Smart women plan for the future”
“My dream guy…an elected official protecting the rights of women.”
“Not barefoot, uneducated and confined to the kitchen anymore”
“Are men afraid to make decisions?”

Set of 6 cards is $ 21.00

50% of every sale of every card (single or set) goes directly to Planned Parenthood to help them continue their much-needed work. $2.38 and/or $10.50 may not seem like a large donation, but every amount helps! To be as transparent as possible, every time a purchase is made, a donation will be made through S2 Stationery’s Fearless Fundraisers webpage.

I’m hoping to raise $1000 or more from your orders! So we ask that you share these cards via social media and obviously, snail mail.

I’ll be promoting these pretty much forever, or until change is made. The donations will also be a forever thing as well. Please note, that on the Fearless Fundraisers page, I had to select a date; that will continue to be adjusted as the project continues.

Again, if anyone would like to help get the word out, please contact me via email info[at]s2stationery[dot]com.

About S2 “Awareness” Projects – Often times, we think our differences are larger than they really are. I’m interested in finding that space and opening your heart to the similarities. By all means, your story IS your story, but that doesn’t mean you’re all that much different than me, or the person next to you. Let’s find those spaces and talk about them and make a difference, together.