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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.

OneSmallChangeCover

Here at GladRags it’s pretty much Earth Day every day, but we like to take the whole month of April to celebrate the planet — and the actions we take to protect it. It’s hard to go a single day without hearing about all that’s going wrong in the world: needless waste and overconsumption of resources, smokestacks belching air pollution, climate change, plastic trash clogging waterways…. the list goes on and on. Sometimes it seems to be an insurmountable hurdle. But it’s not.

Re-building a healthy world starts with every one of us making ONE SMALL CHANGE. Join us this month in taking a photos of the small actions you do every day to make a better world. Pictures must be your own and must include a description and #gladragspads #onesmallchange. Every day, we’ll draw one winner from all the entries to receive a GladRags pantyliner. Together, we can change the world… one pantyliner at a time.

Giveaway guidelines:

  • Pictures must include both #gladragspads and #onesmallchange and be publicly visible (or we won’t be able to find them!)
  • Entries will be accepted via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  • Pictures should be your own and depict Earth-friendly actions (like bringing your reusable bag, hanging your GladRags on a clothesline, etc).

You can watch all the entries come in via the GladRags Social Stream!

This post comes to us via the inimitable Elle Griffin, whose guest post How to Sync Your Menstrual Cycle with the Moon is a fan favorite. Elle Griffin is the founder & editor-in-chief of Over The Moon Magazineand host of Over The Moon Radio. She is a writer, speaker, & Mariology scholar who adores throwing parties and writing young adult fiction novels; and she spends her spare time dancing ballet, sipping champagne, speaking French, and sharing all of the above on Instagram @griffinelle.

modern-rituals

It’s Time Our Rituals Get With The Times

You had the moment. The one where you felt like a shaken champagne bottle. You realized there was something more to you, to your body, to your existence, and this existential experience left you craving for ritual.

Oh they’re all the rage these days. The rituals where you burn your intentions in salt, paint your body with your menstrual blood, and sit in a circle outside under the moonlight. You know, the ones that make you feel like you’re an indigenous princess.

I know. I’ve done ‘em too. The thing is, we’re not an indigenous tribe (at least not if you’re reading this). We do not sleep outside under the moonlight on a regular basis and the bulk of our belief systems are no longer pagan (though for some reason we’re always trying to emulate their rituals).

We are connected right now, you and me, via computer screen. It’s amazing. You have access to knowledge that our forefathers would never have known, thanks to the internet. You will live longer than all previous generations, thanks to modern medicine. We get to be a community together, you and me, two girls with likeminded ambitions, though we may never meet in person, or even know someone in person who thinks just like we do.

The past is beautiful (and lord knows I dream of La Belle Époque), but so is the present. That’s why I believe it’s high time we stopped raiding our ancestors’ rituals. They’re great and all, but I also believe it’s high time our rituals get with the times. Here are some of my favorite (more modern) feminine rituals:

Rituals for the full moon

Instead of dancing around a fire with your top off howling at the moonlight and beating on drums. Try this: Grab a sweaty Soul Cycle sesh to spin away that extra energy, then get gussied up and have champagne with a friend (or lover) somewhere out under the moonlight and preferably loud (so you can laugh a lot… or kiss a lot).

Rituals for your menstrual cycle

Instead of sitting on bales of hay with your sisters and mother-in-law bleeding your sacred menstrual blood out into the earth. Try this: Invite your girlfriends over for a slumber party and watch movies that make you laugh (and cry). Feel free to order delivery and pamper yourselves with chocolate face masks from Lush. Down comforters and girl talk required.

Rituals to mark a special occasion

Instead of throwing your daughter a period party at the start of her menstrual cycle. Try this: Design a ritual that celebrates and symbolizes a shift occurring in your life. For my 30th birthday I wanted loads of ritual to mark the end of one phase of my life and the beginning of a new one. So I rented ball gowns from Rent The Runway, bought bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, hired a photographer, and invited all my girlfriends to my parent’s vacation home for a decadent weekend at the beach. Soon after, my husband and I moved from California to Utah to further cement the shift.

The point is: Want to host a Great Gatsby party in ceremony of your graduation from college? Go right ahead. Feel like celebrating 30 with ballerina toppers on your birthday cake? It’s all you. Choose old symbols or new, but the important thing is to choose rituals that suit your style, symbolize your significant moments, and help you usher in the new you in a significant way.

gladrags b corp 2

As a certified Benefit Corporation (B Corp), we release an annual report that shows our stakeholders (that’s you) what we’ve done over the past year. First, you might need some background information…

What’s a certified B Corp?

B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. It’s a certification that looks at an entire business — not just individual products. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Why is GladRags a B Corp?

We choose to be a certified B Corp because it holds us accountable for our actions, and encourages us to confront every opportunity with the questions: does this reflect our values? How does this serve people and planet? You can read more about why being a B Corp matters to us here.

Where can I learn more about B Corps?

You can learn more about GladRags’ certification here, and browse general B Corp information here.

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2014 Annual Report

You can download our 2014 annual report here (PDF). Here are the highlights from 2014, including our goals for the future.

GOVERNANCE:

  • GladRags is owned and operated by women.
  • GladRags has an independent advisory board that reviews financial documents and keep us on track with our mission.
  • In the future, we’ll expand our advisory board and track our mission-related outcomes better.

ENVIRONMENT:

  • Our packaging contains 75% to 100%  post-consumer recycled cardboard
  • We recycle and reduce waste wherever possible in our office
  • Our products consist of environmentally preferred materials (reusable materials, organic, etc)
  • In the future, we’ll perform in-depth analyses of our products’ life cycle to reduce their environmental footprints even more.

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WORKERS:

  • GladRags partners with local non-profits to provide employment to marginalized populations (immigrant youth, individuals with developmental disabilities)
  • 75% of medical, dental, and vision premiums are covered for eligible employees
  • In the future, we’ll work to improve the benefits to our employees.

COMMUNITY:

  • Our cloth pads are sewn (literally walking distance from our office HQ!) — not overseas!
  • Most of our major suppliers are women-owned
  • In the future, we’ll focus on improving our supply chain to better benefit our local community.

We’d love to hear what you think about our progress, and what you think we should focus on in the coming years. After all, GladRags exists because of you, our customers. We think that our company practices should reflect what you care about!

use-reusables-in-public

One of the most common fears about ditching disposables is how you manage your period while out and about. Fortunately, using reusables in public is just as convenient! We asked our followers on Facebook to share their best advice for changing reusable menstrual products in a public restroom. Here are our favorite tips:

How to use a menstrual cup in a public restroom:

“I have a stash of gynecological wipes like at the OBGYN for cleaning yourself before giving a urine sample that I carry in my purse to just wipe out my cup thoroughly before reinserting. It makes it very simple, I don’t have to leave the stall!: – Veronica

“Use TP to absorb the fluid in a cup – if you just pour it in the toilet, it might take 3-4 flushes to get all the residue to disappear.” – Kristi

“For my cup, at home and in public, I have a small squeeze bottle that I fill with water and squirt it all over (into the toilet) to get all the major stuff off, then I wipe it with a clean paper towel (cause tp breaks apart too easily). Not as quick as a wet wipe, but much less money, less chemicals and about as much waste.” – Shannon

“Have never experienced this because with the cup I only change it twice a day, morning and night. Once when I wake up and once when I go to bed.” – Kaylin

How to change cloth pads in a public restroom:

“I just take my purse or backpack (whichever I am carrying) with me. I have a little pouch for my pads in it; clean pads on one side and dirty pads on the other.” – Kitra

“Wet bag with clean pads inside with a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide inside my purse. Take the dirty pad off, squirt it with hydrogen peroxide, fold it, snap it and put in the wet bag. Rinse and soak when home.” – Jocelyn

“For cloth pads, I have a make up bag to put my soiled pads in and another color make up bag for clean ones.” – Nicole

Share your tips in the comments!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we challenged our ambassadors to create a Valentine to their body or their period and share it on social media (a place that desperately needs some body positivity). In a world where women’s bodies are routinely overlooked or objectified, their Valentines are a beautiful celebration of self-love. Here are a few of their creations (shared with permission):

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“Here’s my photo collage of a Valentine to my body that I posted on Instagram with some of my favorite song lyrics by Regina Spektor: “I’ve got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget/I’ve got a perfect body cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.” These lyrics have always reminded me that, even when I feel my body image isn’t so great, my body does what it’s supposed to keep me alive and healthy. I picked mostly pictures of me being active to remind myself that my body is awesome for helping me rock climb, run, swim, etc.”

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“I made a Valentine not just for my own body but for women’s bodies everywhere. I took inspiration from the fact that I am currently pregnant. It doesn’t get more amazing than that!”

 

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“My Valentine: I’m not a number on a scale, or on a waist-band, or a date of birth, or an income, or a zip code. I’m not a letter on a bra. I don’t need a symbol to define me. I am the sum of my parts. Every wrinkle, scar, gray hair, tattoo, stretch mark, goofy smile, arched eyebrow, expression, and laugh tells my story. I love that woman!”

We hope these Valentines inspire you to think positively about your own body. Tell us what YOU love about yourself in the comments!

Want to be a GladRags ambassador? Ambassadors help us spread the word about reusables, participate in fun monthly challenges, and earn prizes. Currently, we’re accepting new ambassadors in the following groups:

Trash-Talk-Campaign

Trash. We take it out, toss things in, and usually don’t pay it much mind (until it starts to smell). With each person in the United States generating approximately 4.38 pounds of waste per day*, it’s time we started to pay attention to trash.

Here in the US, most of us are lucky enough to have garbage service, making trash a mild inconvenience that we can choose not to see. One question I like to ask people is this: when you throw your pads and tampons away, where do you think “away” is? Unfortunately, “away” is landfills, the ocean (and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), or inefficient incinerators that contribute to climate change.**

Most of the trash we make is not only unnecessary, it’s so easily preventable. We can compost, recycle, or (the best method of trash reduction) simply choose reusable items instead. This month, we’ve partnered with some of our favorite reusable companies to encourage everyone to start talking trash… about trash.

Your mission: snap a pic of the unnecessary trash you encounter in your day to day and share on Instagram with #TrashTalk. One winner will be selected at random on March 10th to win a trash-busting prize pack that includes:

  • a $75 shopping spree at GladRags.com
  • a reusable water bottle from Eco Vessel
  • a year’s supply of toothbrushes + a reusable food storage set from Preserve Products
  • two zero-waste home cleaning cloths from E-Cloth

For example:

 

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Note: images need to be public (not private) to qualify for entry.

Sources:

* http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/
** http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/how-big-great-pacific-garbage-patch-science-vs-myth.html
** http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2013/09/incinerating-trash-is-a-waste-of-resources/

Cloth4All

More and more moms are turning to reusable diaper options for their babies, but many women aren’t aware that reusable options exist for mamas, too! Not only is mama cloth better on the wallet, they’re so much more comfortable against our own sensitive feminine skin as well. We want mamas to know there are healthier options for protection during and post partum, as well as for ongoing menstrual health. The wellness of your baby is important. But the wellness of you is equally important.

We’ve partnered with our friends at Thirsties to bring you a giveaway that covers both mama and baby! Like GladRags, Thirsties products are proudly made in the USA, and replace disposable products that create mountains of trash in our landfills. We caught up with Jessica from Thirsties to learn a  little more about their products and their values…

Hey Jessica! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Jessica and I have been with Thirsties for 5 years as part of our customer service team. I’m also the troubleshooting guru here, as well! I have two kids, and they were both cloth diapered with Thirsties, although my 2 year old had the audacity to potty train herself before I was ready to be done with cloth diapering! I also work for Thirsties remotely, in the comfort of my own home which means I see my co-workers every few years and always miss the Christmas party. But I am incredibly happy to be able to work from home and still be the stay at home mom I always wanted to be!

How did Thirsties get started?

Thirsties was founded in 2007 by Erin Kimmett who started the business with an old sewing machine. In 2010 the Merrills purchased Thirsties and have continued to honor their mission of making it easy and affordable for every family to choose cloth while simultaneously investing in our local economy and sustainable business practices.

Why is it important to choose cloth for your baby?

It is healthy for your baby’s skin!
Disposable diapers contain various toxins such as Tributyltin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and trace amounts of Dioxin. Your baby’s delicate skin functions as a sponge and what we put on it goes in it. Thirsties uses low impact reactive dyes and processes that are eco-friendly. No heavy metals, toxic substances, or environmentally destructive practices are used in dying our fabrics. All Thirsties products are PVC (vinyl), phthalate, and lead free.

It helps you save money
Based on 8,000 diaper changes from birth to potty training you can expect to spend between $2,300 to $2,800 on disposable diapers and wipes. In contrast, cloth diapering your baby can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. Using these figures, you can save up to $2,500 by choosing to use cloth diapers and wipes.

The Cuteness Factor
With the available variety of styles, colors, and prints you can customize a diaper stash that fits your baby’s personality and your budget. Thirsties offers over a dozen fun colors and several adorable prints to fashionably compliment your baby’s style.

Fewer blowouts
Cloth diapers contain blowouts far better than disposables. You can sleep soundly knowing you won’t be up during the night changing outfits, bedding, or bathing your baby.

Let’s talk about trash: what effect do disposable diapers have on the environment?

Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials than reusable diapers. Disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to our landfills and will remain intact for 500 years.

Thirsties are made in the USA. Can you tell me more about your manufacturing process and why made in USA is important?

We are very proud of the fact that all Thirsties products are manufactured in Colorado, USA, by a group of very talented individuals, many of whom are moms who work in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. We are committed to fair and sustainable labor practices, providing people in our own communities with jobs, and helping local economies. And we do not stop there. More than 90% of the fabrics and materials we use are USA-sourced. This reduces our carbon footprint, helps support domestic textile mills, and ensures the highest quality cloth diapers that will last wash after wash. In addition, we recycle 100% of our scrap fabric which is re-purposed for insulation and other uses. Why do we go to so much trouble? Because socially and environmentally responsible practices are as important to us as they are to you.

What do you say to people who think cloth diapering is gross?

The truth is changing diapers can be considered gross. But in my experience, disposable diaper pails filled with waste smells much worse than my open pail of cloth diapers and I would much rather change a messy cloth diaper than handle a giant bag of used disposable diapers.


Enter to win a GladRags & Thirsties Prize Package!

We’re giving away a GladRags Cloth Pad Sampler Kit + two Thirsties One Size All-in-One Cloth Diapers to one lucky winner (total value of $173.99!). Use the widget below to enter to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With all the hullabaloo about celebrity vaginal steaming lately, we decided that as (self-proclaimed) vagina experts we’d better give it a try. By the way, you can read our interview with an actual vagina expert here.

Our two guinea pigs were myself (Tracy) and Kelli. We steamed separately at our own homes. Read on for our experiences!

What was your set up?

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Tracy’s set up: I used a blend of my favorite herbal teas from Harbor Herbalist in a big glass bowl. I added bowling water, then waited for it to cool. I decided not to use a stool because I’m a crazy person and thought that squatting would be comfortable. (Spoiler: it wasn’t.) I’m wearing slippers because everyone recommended them for staying toasty, and a voluminous maxi dress to act as a blanket.

 

 

 

 

photo 1

Kelli’s set up: I used a kitchen step stool. I filled a glass bowl with steamy water and put it on the lower step. I put a small pillow on the top step to sit on. I didn’t have a lot by way of herbs, and everything I read said do NOT use essential oils or you’ll burn your hoo ha. So I used fresh rosemary, because it was the only herb I had that doesn’t remind me too much of eating soup. Then I sat on the top step, scooched forward enough for the steam to be on target, and wrapped my body in a fleece blanket.

 

 

 

 

Soooo…. how was it?

Tracy’s experience:v steam 2 I gave up on squatting about two minutes in. I switched to kneeling, either leaning forward or sitting upright. I wish I had followed my first instinct, which was to use a yoga mat, to keep my knees comfortable. Ended up balling up my dress underneath them for padding. Ditched the slippies pretty quickly, too: this was a VERY toasty experience. My inner thighs have never been sweatier! And yes, I did watch an episode of Friends while steaming my vagoo.

 

 

 

 

photo 3Kelli’s experience: What did it feel like? Steamy. I honestly don’t know what all the negative reactions are about this because IT’S JUST STEAM. It doesn’t go up inside your vagina, it’s just warm, and steamy on the exterior. No weirder than a facial steam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you do it again?

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Tracy’s verdict: I think it should be renamed “vulva steam” since that’s the part that’s actually being steamed! It was a not-unpleasant experience, but I think if I were going to do it again I’d want to do it more mindfully and with a purpose. I can imagine a spa-like session being pretty amazing–especially after going birth.

Kelli’s verdict: Sure. I don’t think I’ll mark my calendar for it, but if I’m feeling in the mood to pamper myself in any way, I’d add this to my list of options.

 

 

 

strawberries

 

Coming soon to GladRags.com: adorable strawberry print pads! Help us name it and you could win a GladRags cloth pad in this print. Comment below with your name idea by Valentine’s Day to enter!

P.S. Hop on over to our Facebook for a bonus giveaway this week!

SexPeriodAnswers

On Thursday, we co-hosted a Twitter party with sexperts Heather Corinna of Scarleteen and Erika Moen of Oh Joy Sex Toy. Our highly informative (and frequently laugh-out-loud funny) #SexPeriod chat focused on how menstruators and their partners feel about period sex. Read on for a recap of our chat!

1. Sex with a partner and/or masturbation while on your period: great, gross, or just oh-whatever?

Most of our Twitter partiers agree: getting down with some sexy times during menstruation definitely helps with cramps. Some feel a little lower libido than usual, but for the most part it was a unanimous YES to this question (especially if you put down a towel first).

2. How have your sexual partners handled your period, or you theirs?

While one tweeter once had a young man tell her she was disgusting for wanting to have sex while on her period, a surprising number of partners couldn’t care less about a little extra lubrication! Way to go, non-menstruators.

3. Do you feel more or less sexy — or the same — whatever “sexy” means for you, when menstruating?

Aside from the cramps, bloating, constipation, and period zits, you’re feeling super sexy when you’re on the rag! And nothing’s sexier than a partner who soothes you during a particular bad bout of PMS.

4. Who finds their cycle influences your desire for sex? And how?

Some people find their desire is higher because they’re less afraid of accidental pregnancy. Others’ libidos drop due to hormonal impacts. In our Twitter party, many menstruators reported feeling most aroused the week leading up to their periods or when they were ovulating.

5. Do any of you feel any pressure to suppress periods (if that’s not what you’d want, ideally), especially when it comes to sex?

Most of us have skipped periods using hormonal birth control at least once, particularly when we were younger. Reasons included: long-distance partners coming to visit, staying at a significant others’ home and not wanting to stain their sheets, general convenience, or to avoid painful periods. Pro tip: if you’re going to skip a period, keep your OBGYN in the loop and always use a condom for back-up.

6. Why do you think people who treat or think of menses so differently than other body fluids do?

This question got responses ranging from blood is GROSS to societal fears of women’s bodies. Gloria Steinem’s famous essay If Men Could Menstruate was cited as an example of how menstruation might be viewed differently if men were the ones with periods… and then quickly devolved into a competition of who could fill their menstrual cup faster.

More questions & answers from our #SexPeriod chat participants:

Q: I’ve heard if you avoid sugar during/before shark week cramps aren’t so bad. Anyone know if this is true?

  • “Definitely helps me! And eating right in general.”

Q: Anyone noticed a heavier flow since going hormone free? Things haven’t been this messy since I was a teenager, or had a baby!

  • “My period got heavier and cramps worse when I got my copper (no hormones) IUD inserted”
  • “I’ve had the opposite! After stopping hormonal bc my period has been super manageable.”
  • “My flow was really heavy before my IUD”

Q: I’m hoping for some sex toy conversation because I am a sex toy n00b.

  • “I’d say definitely use non-porous toys or a porous toy with a condom, or there might be staining, etc”
  • “Some folks earlier were asking about periods and sex toys: easy to clean as usual, or just cover with a condom for ease!”

And of course, no menstrual discussion is complete without a few funny period stories:

  • Favorite ex-boyf period sex story: After we banged on a HEAVY flow day, he didn’t have anything to clean up the massacre… So, he walked out in nothing but a condom, COVERED in blood, and told his roommates, “Guys… I… I killed her.” Epilogue: All of his roommates screamed and ran out, & he was free to leisurely walk into the kitchen for a roll of paper towels.
  • True story: The first time I got my period, my mom had JUST finished telling me about it. After, I had to pee, so I went to the bathroom, looked down, and said “Uh… Mom…? What do I do now that I started?”
  • Menstruation confession: I’ve always found my period to be embarrassing since when I started we were at Buffalo Wild Wings. And my mom got so excited that she shouted it out at my dad, 4 bros, and everyone watching football.
  • When I got my first period I didn’t realize it because the color was brown instead of red, so I assumed I sharted w/out realizing. And when it kept reappearing throughout the day I was like “HOW AM I WET FARTING WITHOUT FEELING IT???” panicked at my mom and she explained what was happening. And then my whole family took me out for a pizza dinner and hugged me.My dad was so proud of me, the memory of his smile and hug that night is my default mental image of him.

Major thanks to our pals Erika and Heather, and everyone who showed up to tweet about sex and periods! If you agree that everyone deserves quality sexuality education, please support Scarleteen with a donation. Knowledge is power!


Erika Moen is the co-creator and cartoonist behind Oh Joy Sex Toy, which is a weekly comic reviewing sex toys, sharing sex education, and generally promoting sex positivity. She is a queer, 16 year comics industry veteran, wife, and cat mom in Portland, Oregon. Be sure to check out her comic review of the Moon Cup and GladRags Pantyliners!

Heather Corinna is the founder of Scarleteen. She’s also an activist, writer, artist, teacher and community organizer. She has been widely recognized as a pioneer of both women’s and young adult sexuality information and education online, having brought inclusive, feminist, creative and comprehensive sexuality content to the web and beyond since 1997.