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A blog from the women of GladRags and our customers too.

Discussions on menstruation, environmental living, women's health, relevant politics, and other interesting matters - we like to go with the flow around here.

Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re still looking for the perfect costume, fear not: we’ve collected our top five favorite period themed costumes here for your inspiration…

 1. Feminine Protection

Bonus: it’s a great use for all those leftover disposable tampons you have now that you’ve switched to reusables.

2. Uterus (and other reproductive parts)

Your perfect last minute costume! Just wear all pink and hold your arms out like fallopian tubes.

3. Aunt Flo & a Box of Tampons

Don’t leave your partner out of the fun. Flip a coin to see who gets to be Aunt Flo and who has to be a box of disposables. We’d tell you to go as a menstrual cup/cloth pad instead, but let’s be honest: tampons are WAY scarier than reusables.

4. Reusables & Blood Droplet

Cloth pads and menstrual cups are soooo not spooky. Make sure to give your most serious metal face while wearing a costume like this, or people will just think you’re cute.

5. Vulva

You can spend the entire night correcting people: you’re not a vagina, you’re a vulva. This photo was shared with us by Doula Zoe, who won a costume contest with this masterpiece!

Not feeling inspired? Maybe this year you can just stay home and craft spooky little ghosts out of tampons…

Happy Halloween!

tales_womb

In preparation for Halloween, we asked our fans on Facebook to share their spooooookiest period-related story. Here are a few of our favorites: 

“I used to wear tampons until one time I was at the mall and I felt sticky stuff trickling down my leg. Period blood. My tampon fell out and I don’t even know where it went. I am a super heavy bleeder and this was a super sized tampon! So that sucked!” – Amy

“Mine actually started for the first time ever in the cemetery. We were playing in the cemetery when I felt it. Weird place to get it.” – Kristin

“When I was 12, my dad took me to the woods. It was hunting season and had snowed. I had my period and thankfully was wearing a pad so I got out and peed behind the truck. My flow was heavy, so the snow turned more red than yellow. I didn’t have any TP so I shook dry and pulled my pants up. My dad got back to the truck and we started to leave. As he’s turning around, he sees a bright red spot in the snow. He circles around looking for a blood trail. I never told him him it was me, but my Mom thought it was hilarious.” – Michelle

“I pretended to have PMS once in sixth grade to be “older” and “cool.”  After my embarrassing fit I got home only to see that I had, in fact, started my period during the hissy fit.” LauraAnn

“I got my period while in a paddleboat in my bathing suit in the middle of a lake. What a mess. My friend made me get out and swim beside the boat the whole way back.” Melanie

“I was 16 and grew up in a conservative church. I didn’t have a boyfriend, but was interested. My mom took me to an all boy’s choir event at our church that had boys as old as 18. I had it in my head that I could charm one of them while talking with them after the concert. Unfortunately it was a really heavy flow day for me and I only wore one pad, with no backups. I didn’t understand my own period at that point to have known better. On top of that I wore a WHITE skirt! By the time the concert was over, my mom and I stood up to applaud and she immediately noticed the whole back of my skirt was bright red. I could have crawled in a hole and died. My mom pulled herself up behind me, guided me by the waist and we left. Thank God she didn’t panic. That was I think the last time I ever wore white or anything light colored while on my period.” – Amanda

“When I was in high school I went to live with my dad. Well, when that time of the month came around I didn’t have any money and didn’t want to ask my dad or my mom (who I wasn’t speaking to) so I used mountains of TP as a makeshift pad (that I later flushed to hide from my dad) and clogged the toilet. That conversations with my dad about proper disposal and how I should have asked him for money for what I needed… most embarrassing thing ever.” – Michelle

“While babysitting, I was sitting on a little girls bunk bed and bled through my pants. I had to tell the mom. Thankfully none of the kids found out while I was watching them. I felt bad for the mom who had to deal with period sheets and telling the kids the sheet was no good. Before I learned to keep track of my cycle, I only wore black pants.” – Janice

“It started with white shorts and a cute boy. And ended with me practicing my cheerleader toe-touches and high jumps in front of him, not knowing my period had chosen that moment to show herself.” – Kelli.

We know that for some people, reusables can seem really scary at first. So once again, we asked our fans to share what they think is scarier still. Your responses horrified us (and some really grossed us out), too. Here are our top picks:

What’s scarier than blood from your own uterus getting on cloth pads?

1. Stepping on a slug with bare feet and it squishing between your toes!
2. The used condoms and tampons that used to wash off of our apartment building roof when it rained…
3. A landfill full of other people’s dirty disposable pads. Biohazard?!?
4. An 8 hour old tampon.
5. Chemicals near my vagina
6. Finding plastic tampon applicators on the beach – gross!
7. Vomit. Hair from the bath tub drain. Centipedes.
8. Stepping on dog poop your son didn’t scoop up in the yard…
9. Bleach up in my hoo-ha
10. Amtrak bathrooms
11. McDonald’s

What’s scarier (and far more likely) than a menstrual cup getting lost in your body?

1. “Period funk” smell from using tampons and disposable pads!
2. Waking up covered in millions of spiders… then jumping out of bed only to find the floor is covered in snakes!
3. Getting a contact stuck behind your eyelid
4. My son vomiting in my mouth
5. Daleks.
6. Not knowing my body well enough to know a menstrual cup can’t be lost in the vagina.
7. TSS!
8. The chemicals in tampons and disposable pads. And the community blood bin that everyone uses to put their disposables in.
9. Starting your period with no menstrual products on you.
10. Being eaten by a dinosaur.
11. Zombie apocalypse.

Comment with your own spooky-scary story about menstruation… we’re waiting anxiously by the campfire for your scariest tale from the womb!

flower-print

Love our latest print? Help us name it and you could win a GladRags Day Pad in this color! To enter, comment on this blog post with your suggestions (as many as you’d like!) by Friday, October 24th.

We’ll pick our favorite name on the 24th AND add the print to the site–so even if you don’t win, you can still nab a fun floral PantylinerDay Pad, or Night Pad on GladRags.com!

Please note: when commenting, you must log in or enter your email address when prompted — if you leave a comment as a ‘guest’ we won’t be able to contact you if you’ve won!

september_challenge

This month, we challenged our new Campus Ambassadors to start the school year off right by having conversations about reusable menstrual pads and cups with their classmates. They blew us away with their enthusiasm! Here’s just a few of their posts from the private GladRags Campus Ambassador Facebook group:

“I talked to all three of my roommates about my internship and showed them my sample Moon Cup. Two of them had already been thinking about it, and one already had a Diva Cup but didn’t really like it because it was too stiff for her. Both her and my other roommate loved how squishy and flexible the Moon Cup felt and are considering ordering one (free shipping woot woot) in the very near future! The other roomie was more skeptical but we’ll see.” - Heather

“Hey ladies! Spoke to a class of 15 ladies today (and one gentleman) at school. I was so excited and honest. The had a lot of questions and were so interested in the topics and the discussion. A few asked about being able to try samples and see examples. Also, maybe having a get-together. So thrilling!” - Ashley

“I talked at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center’s community lunch today about GladRags and it went really well! People were very receptive, even the guys! I passed around the sample pantyliner and the zine while answering peoples’ questions. I also got everyone’s email addresses so I can email them a referral link!” - Renae

“I took a bold move today, and spoke to someone I’ve never met before about menstrual cups! Her name is Brianna, and she took a definite interest. We were both waiting for rides home, and she looked very bored. So, I asked her if she wanted some reading material, and at first she was perplexed why some random girl was talking about periods. I asked her what she used, and she said that she used tampons (and slept in pads). Then I asked her if she’d rather use something else, then she responded “well, I’d rather not have a period at all, but there’s not really anything besides tampons and pads”. That’s when I pulled out a Lunette Cup from my bag. Her jaw dropped, and she asked how long menstrual cups have been around (and possibly thinking “why haven’t I heard of these before?”). I explained as much as I could before her ride pulled up. She gave me her email, and I sent her a lot of information about menstrual cups. We should be able to talk soon again, and with any luck, she might find a new preference for her periods.”‬ - Brandi

“Finally talked one of my most hesitant friends into getting a Moon Cup! Success!!!” ‪- Allison

“Talked to a few friends about cloth today! My Brazilian friend said eww and then when she felt the insert and liner she was amazed at how soft it was. My other friend, who doesn’t have a period due to birth control, thought it was cool and was very interested in my sample Diva Cup (as well as the guy friends going “whoa so how would you even get it in?”). I also talked to the Sustainability club and told their representative about RUMPs (ReUseable Menstrual Products) and grabbed a flyer! They might have me do an info-panel on RUMPs sometime!” - Kristina

Want to start a reusables movement on your campus? Apply to be a GladRags Campus Ambassador today, and participate in our next monthly challenge!

As part of the Mandela Washington fellowship I was posted for an internship at GladRags in Portland to apply skills I learned during the six weeks of learning at UC Berkeley  as well as learn how to set up my own factory as we have a similar vision. It’s been two months of learning, work and fun.

Well, some of the things may sound cliche but they are truly what I observed during my stay here and they work! They are listed below in no particular order;

1. Hard work pays off, you have to be diligent at what you do. Nothing comes for free. You have to put your mind, energy and efforts into your work and it will eventually pay off.

2. Be excellent, no one likes mediocre work.

3. Be informed, know what it takes to make things work in your company. Be alert, know current affairs.

4. Build partnerships, you cannot do it all alone. Look for people with similar agenda, mission and vision and work with them you will be surprised by how much you will achieve in shortest time possible.

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5. Be hands on. I’ll give an example: my boss is the president of the company and the person in charge of shipping was unwell. There was so much to be shipped that my boss offered to do it herself though the person had said she would do it the next day.

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6. Running a company is not easy. Sometimes you will have to sacrifice your time, energy and things you love to make it work.

7. Things I got to appreciate: feedback. I really didn’t know feedback mattered until when I approached new partners to work with GladRags. Always respond to that mail, you never know.

8. Branding, you really have to sell your brand, people need to know what it is that you do. There are cost effective ways of doing it. You can creatively use social media to build your brand.

9. Be creative. Keep in mind simplicity is key.

10. Analytical thinking, analyze before you take any action. Identify options you have at hand.

11. Etiquette. Be nice and kind.

12. Keep a diary, a to-do list to keep you abreast with what you should do. It saves time and helps you know what tasks should be done. Manage your time, remember time is money. There’s nothing like African time ;)

13. Customer is king, always treat your customer well even if they are wrong. Apologize if need be.

14. Always treat your staff well, commend them for a job well done.

15. Always think ahead, nothing should catch you by surprise. Have a plan.

16. Be passionate about what you do.

17. Sometimes take a walk, it really does help to clear up your mind… I will never forget the walk to Dutch Bros for coffee ;)

18. Be conscious of the environment, recycle and reduce waste.

19. I’m a new blogger, part of my work was to blog for the organization every week and this helped me on my blogging and writing.

20. Be organized and neat. It really helps to have an uncluttered office.

21. Be open to learn, you can never stop learning. Knowledge is power.

22. Listen to other people’s opinion keenly.

23. Always jot your ideas on a notebook or whichever works for you but have them written down that way they will keep you focused. Do you have your mission, vision and goals written down?

24. It’s OK to bring your pets to work, it’s never that serious ;) I will miss you Riggs and Roger, you helped me deal with and overcome my fears ;) (I feared dogs, I would not be seen in the same room with them) and for that matter I’m getting myself a pug. :)

Riggs and Roger
25. Not everyday you will wake up feeling awesome and energetic ready to face the world, there are days you will want to sleep in and forget everything going on around you. When you are in that state, get coffee–it works wonders!

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26. Believe in yourself. Trust me it’s only you who is keeping yourself from success and happiness. I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, give back to your community. Reach out to the poor and vulnerable and help empower them.

I am delighted that at GladRags I was taught, engaged and involved in all activities to equip me to take up my leadership role to the next level.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Have a Lovely read!

Maureen :)


 About the author of this post:

maureen

Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley

period_gratitude

I originally titled this post “4 Reasons I Like my Period” but then realized that “like” is not exactly the right word in this situation. Do I really like the feeling of the mild cramps signaling my upcoming period? Do I like the deeper, more raw emotions I’ll inevitably experience each month? Not really, but I’m grateful for my period and all it brings. Here’s why.

1. My period makes me listen to my body.

When I treat my body poorly throughout the month, PMS symptoms worsen. Ate a bunch of sugar all month long? Hello, awful cramps. Didn’t get enough exercise? Here’s some bloating, enjoy. My body uses my period as a way to communicate with me–I just have to listen.

2. My period forces me to slow down.

I have a tendency to overbook myself, to bite off more than I can chew, to not say “no” to something even when I really need a break. My period reminds me that I need to practice self-care, especially during this time of the month. For tips on self-care during your menstrual cycle, read this post about reflection and ritual to honor your cycle.

3. My period makes me listen to my heart.

If something’s bothering me during the month, my menstrual emotions will force me to deal with it. Crying at the drop of a hat? There’s something deeper going on that can no longer be ignored. And that’s a good thing.

4. My period connects me with the cyclical nature of life.

What do the phases of the moon, the changing of the seasons, and menstruation have in common? They’re all cycles of rebirth and death, fallow and fertility, activity and introspection. How cool is it that our bodies follow the same natural rhythms? And: have you ever considered syncing your menstrual cycle to the moon?

How about you? Why are you grateful (or not) for your period?

 


About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

 

“Education, of course, creates many opportunities. In Kenya, for most people of my generation and after, a high school education or a college degree is a guaranteed ticket out of the perceived drudgery of subsistence farming or the cultivation of cash crops for little return.” From her book Unbowed:A memoir by late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathai.

Nobel laureate Late Wangari mathai

Nobel Laureate LWangari Maathai

My passion is to empower girls through education. I inform them the importance of education and the opportunities that come with it. I want them to complete school and become better people in the society. Be great citizens who are able to make better decisions in life. I do this by holding motivational talks with the girls to inspire and boost their self esteem to propel them and to challenge them to work on their goals. We also have a mentorship program where we connect girls with mentors to guide them through especially when making career choices. The mentors are role models in their lives. We want the girls to believe in themselves to have a positive mindset. We encourage the girls to develop their talents and work on them, because these are gifts that have been instilled in them to help them achieve their purpose. I believe the girls need role models who are doing great in their lives, people who have succeeded in different sectors in the society. We want our girls to know that it’s possible they too can make it in life just like we did.

The girls are seeking role models whom they can emulate. Of late I have been seeing women posting nude photos on social media just to get more likes on Instagram and Facebook, more followers on twitter. But at what cost? What message are we sending to our girls? That all these values we have been advocating for are not working? Thus we have to show people our bodies for them to like us? Because they too will want to do the same. I know it’s a free world; we can do what we want with our lives, but let’s think beyond ourselves and before we post that picture or comment think of the young people in our lives.

I remember when I was growing up, I wanted to be so many things depending on the kind of people that came across my life. I wanted to be a journalist because I liked how Beatrice Marshall of then KTN presented herself she was smart, eloquent and confident. I wanted to be a lawyer: I had seen how Agnes Murgor had won her court cases. She was confident, intelligent, and straightforward. I wanted to be an environmentalist just like late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai; she was a fighter who believed in herself and was passionate about the environment. I also wanted to be a nurse like my mother, Christine Muthengi, just because of the seminars and workshops she attended in many countries as a senior nurse. And there are many others who shaped my life.

Let us remember we are role models to our young girls and boys and teach them values that will help them grow. Values they will stand by and work with in our society. Let’s not forget we are nurturing leaders of tomorrow and teach them to believe in themselves, live with a purpose and passionately fulfill it.

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” - Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai

I believe mine is to empower girls. What is your little thing?

Have a lovely day.

Maureen :)


 About the author of this post:

maureen

Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley

I took a poll on reusable cloth pads on my Facebook page. The comments I got were rather interesting. Some of my friends knew little or nothing about them. Some (especially men) sent me messages telling me this is a private issue and if I want to talk about it, I should call a meeting with the girls and women rather than posting it in public. Shouldn’t we talk of issues that affect us?

Menstruation is seen as women’s issue in my country. The men don’t involve themselves in this issue unless they are in the health sector or selling them. Its a taboo to talk about menstruation in public, when you raise the issue people shy away from contributing. They’d rather send a private message warning you not to post ”such issues” in public. When will we talk about issues that affect us, especially when girls miss five days of school because they cannot afford sanitary towels? Shouldn’t we talk about it? I believe talking creates an awareness and shows people there is a need and will be compelled to focus on dealing with the issue and help keep our girls in school.

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Teacher Esther and girls from Misyini Primary School

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Chief Ndoo accompanied us to Kivulu Primary School

What I have learned during my stay here in US is to speak out, create an awareness and not be afraid of what others think. I speak menstruation matters because I am concerned about the girls who miss school and am looking for a sustainable way to provide for them sanitary towels. People out there don’t know what is going on out there. People don’t know girls use unhygienic methods during their menstruation. Well, it’s about time I speak on their behalf and ask people to donate sanitary towels. To tell girls and women of the options that are out here, options that are safe, clean and sustainable. Let’s involve all stakeholders, leaders both men and women, to support our girls.

I like the way we talk about anything in GladRags, talking about periods is seen as normal. I must say at first I felt uneasy talking about periods at my workplace. Here people are open and won’t criticize, people respect your opinion.

So let’s start the conversation about menstruation matters till every girl and woman can afford sanitary towels, not just any but has a choice to choose that which is safe and healthy for them. Let’s make sure they live a stress free life any day of the month :)

Have A Lovely read!

Maureen


 

About the author of this post:

maureen

Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley

 

Welcome to Period Pieces, our journey through the bizarre and beautiful cultural history of menstruation. Inspired by #throwbackthursday, we serve up our favorite ads, images, and factoids about periods throughout the ages.

This week’s Period Piece comes to us via the Society for Menstrual Research, one of our favorite sources for women’s health information. On the surface, the advertisement below for Kotex’s appears to be just like most other ads from the era–promising the “utmost daintiness of a person” who uses the product, featuring stylish women in lady-like dresses, et cetera–but thanks to the smart folks at SMR, we get to see another layer.

kotex nepenthe

 

Check out the name of the ship, printed on the the life saver hanging on the ship’s rail: Nepenthe. As the SMR points out, “nepenthe” is a literary nod to a magical potion that makes the user forget his woes (see: The Raven and The Odyssey for references to nepenthe) . These smart women appear to be setting sail on Kotex’s soft, deodorizing pads to forget their menstrual woes–really, to forget they’re on their periods at all.

What do you think of this advertisement? Should menstrual products make you forget about your period?


About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.

 

We caught up with Jaime, the woman behind the much-buzzed-about Schmidt’s Deodorant–I’m wearing some right now!–to share the story behind the fresh ‘pits.

Hi Jaime! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Jaime Schmidt, owner of Schmidt’s Deodorant. Living in Southeast Portland, I’m also a happy wife and mom to the sweetest 4 year old boy, Oliver.

Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt's Deodorant

Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Deodorant

How did Schmidt’s Deodorant get started?

I’ve always pursued natural beauty products, and several years ago I began making them for my family. After a couple years of R&D and testing the highest-quality ingredients available, I finally perfected the deodorant recipe in 2012. When Schmidt’s Deodorant hit store shelves, people were shocked that it worked so well–they couldn’t get enough of it. Now, thanks to our devoted customers and some very talented employees here at Schmidt’s, we’ve grown quickly into the brand we are today.

Can you tell me about the ingredients in your deodorant? What makes it effective?

It’s always been a top priority of ours to source the absolute highest quality ingredients and incorporate the specific functions of each by using very exact ratios. The production not only requires a specific combination of ingredients, but a very careful and “secret” process that gives us the great consistency and hand feel we’re looking for.

Some of our favorite summer beauty essentials

Some of our favorite summer essentials, including Schmidt’s and the Moon Cup!

Why is it important to use a deodorant like Schmidt’s instead of a typical antiperspirant?

People tend to be frustrated with conventional deodorant options. They don’t always work, often have a sticky feel, and they clog the pores–not only that, but many are loaded with harmful chemicals. Schmidt’s allows for the body’s natural process of perspiration–we don’t include those chemical ingredients that are designed to keep you from sweating–rather, we use plant-based powders and top-quality baking soda to absorb the wetness if you do sweat. These ingredients help to balance our body’s natural odor with a more health-conscious deodorant option.

What advice do you have for women who want to make their personal care routine more natural and healthy?

There are so many high-quality natural beauty brands available on the market today, making the switch to healthier alternatives an easy one. Beauty blogs are a great source for discovering some of the best.

What’s it like being a woman in business? Have you encountered specific obstacles or opportunities?

I think being an entrepreneur brings specific challenges regardless of gender. I do know there’s an abundance of resources available for female business people. Luckily, I’ve not encountered any discrimination that’s directly affected my ability to do business. I’ve been supported by men and women alike, and I’m very grateful for my network of friends and business relationships.


About the author of this post:

tracypuhl is the owner of GladRags and is passionate about period positivity and empowering women everywhere. When she’s not in the office, you might find her attempting to run a faster 10k, traveling, practicing yoga, or pointing out how cute her cats are being right now.