Monday, June 23, 2014

Women’s Body Armor: There’s Room for Improvement

Body armor has long been an absolute essential when in combat, but it’s only in recent years that the armor was actually created (and fitted) with a woman’s body in mind. In 2012, the Army began testing body armor that was specifically geared toward a female body. Before then, they’d been using the same armor vests as men, which brings about a seemingly obvious point, made succinctly by Beverly Kimball, “females are not small males.” Women had previously been wearing a men’s vest; and while those technically fit, they do not fit well. In fact, according to Time magazine, the men’s extra small vest is too small for 85% of female soldiers. The advent of this new body armor seems almost obvious, but it was so revolutionary that it was considered one of the top inventions of 2012 according to Time Magazine.


One of the main problems associated with wearing a vest made for males is the lack of support it offers the bust. In an article about women’s body armor, Myke Glaze tells Police Mag that “[when] you put a male vest on a woman with an ample chest, the sides of her breasts are pushed out to the side and she has no coverage on her chest.” The solution to this problem has to do with the darting of the armor.  With additional darting shaping the material of the vest, you can ensure that the vest is correctly contoured to a woman’s body, allowing for optimum protection.


In addition to the problem of not being able to fit properly around the chest, there are a multitude of other problems associated with an incorrectly fitted vest. One of these problems is the length of the vest: Interamer’s body armor sizing guide suggests that this is also a problem for men. When sizing for men, two inches should be taken off the measurement of the torso, to account for movement. A vest that is too long will either hit the throat or belt when sitting down. The sizing guide shows that the length of the torso of the vest goes a long way in providing comfort for the wearer. As women have considerably shorter torsos than men, the length of a men’s vest would be too long to provide any such comfort. The vest hitting the hips causes considerable bruising while also raising the vest above the shoulders, meaning that it doesn’t offer the protection that it should at all times.

Body armor has come a long way in a short period of time, and the timing couldn’t be better. Last year, the Pentagon ordered that women should have the same opportunities as men when it comes to combat jobs. Additional jobs should open up by the thousands by 2016. This created a pressing need for women to be adequately protected when defending our country, which the Army is working toward fulfilling.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What's The Difference In Scars?

If I had been burned and had scars on my neck, you wouldn't be able to use that as basis for not giving me a job. Sometimes, however, in the professional world a scar CAN be used against you.

What is a tattoo? By definition, it is to "mark (a person or a part of the body) with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin." Yes, it was done on purpose, but it does not affect my ability to be an excellent administrative assistant, to act in a professional manner, or to totally rock any job that I put my mind to. 

I was furious recently when I was talking to a woman at the dog park when she offered,"I think Hot Topic is hiring at the mall, I'm sure they would hire you, with your tattoos." Wow. Really?

My tattoos are part of me. Some are important: the "medic alert" tattoo on my left arm, the bee and daisy to remind me to "be still and know He is God", and the shamrock on my ankle reminding me that we create our own luck. Some, I wish I hadn't gotten, but have taught important lessons. Sure, if I could I would have a few of them removed, but the point is, without a job that's not possible. 

I guess my request for my readers today is simple: don't judge someone by the scars on their body, whether they are accidental, natural, or self imposed. They may be an important lesson stemming from a dark place in different than a scar on a girl's wrist from an attempted suicide. They may be a reminder of a past life, changed for the better...similar to a surgery scar from a bad choice made as a child. They may be a reminder for safety...the exact same thing as a medical alert bracelet or medallion. See that person for who they are, not what they look like, what they wear, or the color or marks on their skin. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Feeling Great!

A few weeks ago, I decided I was tired of feeling and looking less than what I truly wanted so I joined the gym. I found an amazing small gym and started really working. 

A few days after I joined, a Diverticulitis attack but me on my butt for 2 weeks. That is part of the reason I need this. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

I still love my little gym, but a close friend has recently paid for a month at 24 Hour Fitness for me and I am for sure enjoying the extra amenities. I will probably return to my gym once this month is up, though, because I truly cannot afford the big gym fees and I really love the family feel there. 

I have learned two things:
1. Working Out Feels Great
   I love the way I feel after a workout. Feel like I've done something, I've worked hard, and I made a difference in my life. It's a very accomplished feeling. I love it!!

2. Eating Healthy Is A Little More Expensive
   It's a little sad to me that I can get a nasty, greasy cheeseburger for $1, but a crisp, healthy salad costs $6. One thing I love, Walmart's Great Value brand Greek Nonfat Yogurt. It's just as good as name brand, for half the price and oh, so yummy!!

I have also set a goal. Not a weight goal, because I have determined that the number on the scale is not what is important. I will measure my progress by strength gains, feeling healthy, and liking the way I look. So this is my goal 

I am right now at a size 12-14. This dress is a 10. I don't want to just fit into it either...I want to WEAR it!!! 

I also plan to reward myself with a corset holster from Can Can Concealment when I hit that goal, too. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Seven years ago, when I lost 2 grandmothers in two months, I remember leaning into my father's chest and sobbing that I didn't think I was grown up enough to handle that much loss at once. 

We all cope with grief differently. We cope with different types of grief differently. Generally for me, I dwell for a while. I simmer in my stew of despair. I allow myself to live in the pain for as long as I need to process the feelings and then I cry, I pray, I accept that this is going to be okay and I press on.  

When I was 18, however, I experienced a loss that I was definately not mature enough to handle. I had experienced death before, just not unexplained death. My grandfather passed away because he was in kidney failure, it wasn't fair but there was a reason. In the 8th grade, a close friend committed suicide, it was devastating, but I knew him, I knew his depression, while unexpected, I could convince myself that there was a reason and continue forward. My grandmother and I spent hours, and I finally came to the understanding that he was just too wonderful and gentle for this harsh world and God somehow allowed him to be free of it. That was a good enough explanation for a 12 year old. 

But Katy, our sweet Katy with so much unmet potential, there was no reason. That solemn and wise soul, that silly hearted girl was not ill, was not suicidal, there was no reason for her death. I sobbed ad grieved for days, our other friend and I sat with her mother and mourned but I never lived through that pain, I never let go of my anger, I never processed my sadness. I am not sure I have ever accepted that Katy is really gone. 

Katy, Jocelyn and I ran together. Like the Three Amigos we were birds of a feather. Each with our own personality to add to the mix, we were a gaggle of creativity, intellect and teenage laughter. I was newspaper, they were yearbook. Those were hard years in my life and when I look back, the times with those girls seem to be the rare moments when I was happiest. 

Jocelyn and I had just graduated and Katy was about to begin her senior year. She told us she was headed to a leadership experience for the summer, that it would get her some college credit. Only now do I know that I wasn't the only one who asked her not to go. Not only did we not want to be apart from her, but it just didn't feel right. The three of us attended a Brooks and Dunn Concert where Katy and I pretended to hate a song just because Jocelyn hated it, only to confess that we truly liked it the next day. Then she was off. 

We had no way to know that the concert was to be our last experiece together. We had no way to know that 24 days into her experience, on June 26,1996, the cold Wyoming river would rip that young life from our little world. 

We were told some small details, but I don't know that we ever really understood. I know I didn't. Because I didn't understand, I never processed, I just got angry and I think I've lived there for the last 18 years. Her mother gave me her car and I drove it until the engine locked up and it was beyond repair. I missed the times we drove around Amarillo together. 

Two nights ago, my Jocelyn sent me a link from the National Geographic. In 2009, Andrew McCarthy, the actor and a travel writer for the magazine, wrote an article about our Katy. He happened to be an instructor on that trip and was with Katy that tragic day. His recalling of that day devastated me and tortured me...but it answered questions. There is still no "reason" why our Katy never grew up, got married, wrote award winning articles and surpassed all of our dreams for her, but finally there are answers. 

At every special moment in my life, I have pictured my Katy. When I got married, I imagined the man she would have chosen. I saw her bright smile in the smile of my own infant daughter. I see her curiosity and tenacity in the learning eyes of the children I teach. I see her in the coffee shop, driving down the road, and walking through the grocery.  Jocelyn and I often wonder who she would be now, and finally we have answers to almost two decades of questions. There is some healing in that. 

I spent the last two days processing, journaling, and living in my grief. Today I was finally ready to share this with you. Finally, today, I am coping. 

If you would like to read Mr. McCathy's story, it is here

To celebrate our Katy, Jocelyn and I are trying to plan a way to visit that place for the 20 year anniversary. We will leave something there so that others may know that she was there. Plant a tree, a cross or a plaque of some kind. Some small token of evidence of her sweet life. I know this, I am a better person for having had her in my life, though only for a moment. I still miss her, every single day. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Open Letter To The Skinny Heifer At The Gym Counter

I don't know your name and you don't know mine, but last week when I walked into your gym, filled with hope, determination and a will to make this thing happen, with a quick glance up and down my body and a disgusted, upward curl of your lip, you made a huge mistake.

You see, you look at me and you don't want me in your gym full of "hot bodies". In your eyes, I'm not even a "hot mess", I'm just a mess. You see a nearly obese, middle aged, soccer mom scraping together the quarters out of the washing machine to put together a Gym membership because she wants to get back the body she lost all those years ago to marriage and childbirth. But that's where you're wrong. 

Your eyes may see those things, but inside I'm my own hero. I am a wife, a mother, a kidney donor, an activist, a friend, daughter, and more. I am a champion. I am a STRONG, BEAUTIFUL, REAL SPIRITUAL WOMAN WHO IS TRUSTING IN AND LOVED BY GOD.  I am a woman who is determined to get healthy, to not get diabetes, to be around for a whole lot longer. I am a champion. 

I am the woman who is going to make you eat your judgements and turn your head. Just sayin'. 

P.S. If you're in the area of Azle/Springtown, TX and are looking for a gym, check out The GEM on Highway 199. They have a place for you with a great staff who takes the time to get to know you, knows your name, and helps you out however they can. They have great family plans and affordable rates. I am so happy they are here. 

P.P.S. The GEM has no idea I even mentioned them in this story. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Holster Review: Can Can Concealment Garter Holster

Okay ladies, get ready for the newest holster! When I started this page 2 years ago, I was looking for ways for women to be women while also carrying concealed. I was looking for an answer to the common male response "just wear baggy clothes". We've come a long way, girls, and now it's gotten even sexier.

With the new collection from Can Can Concealments, you can conceal up to 2 firearms and a magazine, all while wearing your favorite skirts, shorts, or whatever suits your fancy. So here we go, my review of this amazing product:

Construction: This holster is made of high quality, durable elastic. Strong but not constricting.

Comfort/Fit: This holster is beautifully comfortable and breathes (a huge bonus here in Texas where we hit triple digits more often than not in the summer). Fit is excellent, but be sure to us the chart and measure correctly. Since I've lost some weight since I got mine, I'm already going to have to order a size smaller!!!

Gun Ride: You can fit a pistol on each side of the holster, grips out. As well as a magazine in the center.

Concealability: Beautiful, elegant, and sexy concealability. You can wear skirts without worrying about having to put your gun in your purse. Quick and easy access to the grip and a spare magazine. Holds steady during draw and reholster. Like I said, I have to order a size smaller since I have lost some weight, as soon as I do, I will post some video of drawing, shooting, and reholstering with this gorgeous holster.

Price: At $50 for the garter, such an affordable accessory!

Ordering/Customer Service: The customer service with these girls can't be beat. They will answer phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages in a timely fashion and answer all of your questions. Their exchange/return policy is excellent and they strive to ensure every customer is satisfied!

With a motto "carry beautifully" how can you lose? This is an amazing holster. Now you have thhe chance to win one. Can Can Concealment is going to send a Garter Holster and Garter belt to one reader. All you have to do is complete the options below. Each selection is a chance to win! Winner will be drawn April 9th! No foolin'!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this holster free from the manufacturer. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Over the Road Adventures: Day 3

Yesterday was hard for me but I have a new respect for those who work over the road every day bringing those things we need in order to live. I had no idea the things that I would have to do without if it weren't for our nations truck drivers. I am so blessed that my driver comes home every week but not all families are like that. Some drivers are gone for weeks or months at a time. This got me to thinking, "What would happen if they all just took a week or hey, how about a month off?" I found this infographic from 

I remember a couple of months ago when the DFW area was hit by the Ice-pocalypse and trucks couldn't get in. We had empty store shelves, empty gas pumps, and record breaking accident numbers. And that was only three days. So, with all that said, thank you drivers, my hat is off to you. And all of the wives playing single mom at home, waiting, hoping, praying he comes home safe just one more time, you girls are the strongest women I know, right there with our soldiers and first responders wives. You have my thoughts and prayers. 

I am so sore today. Yesterday we delivered the pipe to a plant in Pampa, TX and picked up a load of Cedar Hulls in Perryton, TX. I have to give a shout out to the fine folks at High Plains Hulls and MTR Tire in Perryton, the fine gentlemen at both of these establishments went above and beyond yesterday to help us out. 

At High Plains we loaded 45,000 pounds of Cedar Hulls in giant bags. The staff there took time out of their day to help us tarp and strap the load. (At the cotton place, I thought I would show how tough I am and roll up ONE tarp by myself. I'm paying for it today, my whole body hurts like I worked out for hours!) Then they noticed we had a flat tire. The mechanic and his whole crew were walking out the door to go home, but they stayed to help us. When it was decided that the tire was not going to hold air for long, they called and found a tire shop who was willing to stay after closing and change a tire for us.

Miguel and his guy at MTR stayed 2 and a half hours past closing time and changed a tire so we wouldn't have to wait for them to open the next morning! This guy was our hero, I will tell you that. 

Being from the panhandle had its benefits last night. I was able to stop by a friend's house who had us a nice, oven baked pizza and a hot shower waiting. I also got to snuggle her precious 3 week old grandbaby, which made all of the troubles of the world disappear. I also got a text from my son, my sweet Skater Boy. He knows I am lonely without my little dog who died a few months ago and he found a friend giving away some pups. He sent pictures of the craziest looking little Chorkie I have ever seen, but I promised to come look at them when we get home. What I really want is a female Shih Tzu but I have to be receptive of his kindness and at least go look at these little guys. Here's the one he sent me, let me know in the comments what you think?? He looks like something out of a cartoon, but I just can't place it.

I can't say it was a bad day, because it was filled with SO MANY blessings, but it was hard. Trucker-Man offered to drop me off at home, since we will be driving within 30 miles of the house, but I promised to ride with him a week and I aim to keep my word. I must admit, I am pretty glad this week is half over...