Every Purse Is a Purple Purse with Allstate Foundation

Disclosure: We have partnered with Allstate Foundation and Latina Bloggers Connect for this post.

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A year ago, I told you about Allstate Foundation Purple Purse and shared with you a story about my friend, Jenn and her experience with domestic violence. Today, I am going to tell you about an experience that I thought would never happen to me but first I want to talk about what the Allstate Foundation is doing with the Purple Purse campaign.

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Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is making it easier – even fashionable – to talk about domestic violence and the financial abuse that traps women in abusive relationships. The program ignites fundraising for more than 140 national, state and local domestic violence organizations. Funds raised will support life-changing financial empowerment services to help domestic violence survivors build safer lives for themselves and their families. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse aims to break the cycle of violence in our nation – one family at a time.

New evidence from the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers University School of Social Work indicates that boosting a survivor’s financial literacy, skills and resources can create a path toward long-term safety and security for survivors. Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has invested more than $40 million across the country to help domestic violence survivors regain control of their finances and break free from abuse.  PurplePurse.com has important tips and tools to help you recognize domestic violence and financial abuse, talk about it and end it.

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My story isn’t one of domestic violence, it’s one of emotional abusive behavior, but it could have easily spiraled into that if I hadn’t cut off communication with the abuser after a month of interacting. But during that month, we were romantically involved, they were charming, gave me a lot of attention (which I am a sucker for), and I began to consider becoming serious with this person.

Until little things started happening, like the time they criticized the way I spoke and the words I used, which were cultural words that I grew up saying. Or when that person criticized my lifestyle choices and told me that I should just “get a job” even after explaining that my mental stability came first. This person even criticized the way I wore my highly processed hair to protect it during a day at the beach. And then there was the social isolation – this person would not let me meet their family or friends, nor did they meet mine. They would call all the shots in terms of where we went and what we did and how we did it and they refused to let me pay for anything even though I expressed discomfort at this.

Eventually it got to the point where we were arguing all the time. I would express anger or hurt and I would be told that I was too needy or too intense. I would get dismissed almost immediately when I tried to say “hey, this is not ok.” This person picked fights with me when the two of us were seemingly having a good day together or on what was supposed to be a good day (like my birthday) and then would proceed to tell me what I was supposed to say or do to fix the situation or further criticizing me for not responding the way they thought was best. They never took responsibility for their actions and always feigned total ignorance or helplessness.

I let this go on for a little over a month, mostly because at first, I couldn’t believe this would be happening to me, a feminist that believes and supports women’s rights, a person who played a vital role in saving another women from domestic violence, a person who thought she knew better. But the classic signs of emotional abuse were there and even though they started out slowly (enough that I could write each individual experience off), this person’s behavior became increasingly more abusive. I stopped being able to justify things. I couldn’t keep telling myself that if I just explained it right or well enough, they would get it, they would understand, they would stop. I had to be the one that stopped it.

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And so I did. I was lucky that I was able to cut that person out of my life. Some people in abusive situations are not as lucky. Domestic violence affects one in four women in her lifetime – that’s more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer combined. And that’s not mentioning the men, trans* people, and others that are victims of domestic violence. Most people think only of physical abuse when they consider domestic violence. Yet, financial abuse happens in 98% of all cases of domestic violence and is one of the most powerful ways to keep a victim trapped.

Financial abuse is just as effective in controlling an abused victim as a lock and key. If her credit has been ruined, she can’t get an apartment. If her abuser constantly harasses her at work, she can lose her job. And, crushing debt run up by an abuser means it could take a survivor and her children years to fully recover from abuse.

Domestic violence and financial abuse often go hand-in-hand, but nearly 8 in 10 Americans have not heard much about financial abuse as a form of domestic violence. The number one reason domestic violence survivors stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free. This is obviously a huge problem and not enough people are talking about it. Two-thirds of Americans believe that domestic violence is a serious problem, yet just over 1 in 3 have ever talked about it. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse aims to make it fashionable to talk about this difficult topic.

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To turn any purse into a Purple Purse, The Allstate Foundation is widely distributing Purple Purse charms so you can show your support and attach to your favorite bag year round. They are being distributed with inspiring survivor stories through Purple Purse Challenge participants and Allstate agency owners.

You can help ensure domestic violence survivors – likely someone you know – aren’t financially trapped in an abusive relationship by joining the Purple Purse Challenge. Open your heart and wallet to stand up for survivors and the organizations that serve them at PurplePurse.com.

The Allstate Foundation is investing more than half a million dollars in the Purple Purse Challenge. The more donations each nonprofit gets, the more it can compete for Allstate Foundation incentive funding. Go to PurplePurse.com between Sept. 2 and Oct. 3 to join the Challenge and help a nonprofit near you.

Thank you for reading, friends. This is an issue that is really close to my heart and I appreciate your support and love. Our communities are what lift us up so please do what you can when you can. ♥

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

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Celebrating My Hispanic Heritage with Nestle

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle NuestroSabor

Hey friends, so September 15th kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month and I wanted to do something special to celebrate it here on the blog. We have never done a food post before but I was super excited to try it when I heard that Nestle was promoting their Latino products in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month! I have felt a connection between Nestle and my Latino culture for years, mostly because of early memories of my grandmother.

When I was in elementary school, my brother and I spent mornings before school at my grandma’s house. He and I would watch cartoons (a favorite was Sailor Moon!) before she would sit us down for breakfast – either avena, menudo or homemade beans, depending on what she had in the kitchen. We would all sit down together and my brother and I would eat while she sipped her Nescafe coffee from her brown ceramic mug. I remember the smell of the coffee when she would open the jar to prepare it and I remember how delicious and comforting it smelled when she pulled it out, perfectly warm, from the microwave. From an early age, I associated Nestle Nescafe Clasico with my family and my culture.

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When I was a teenager, she and I would make persimmon cookies together. They smelled and tasted exactly like Fall. I would beg her every year to make them and she always would as long as I promised to help make them and then help eat them!  She had a recipe that she used but she knew it by heart by the time she enlisted me as her baking assistant. I was absolutely in awe of how she knew just the right amount of which ingredients to put into the batter and when. Baking with her inspired my love for baking that I have today.

Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle NuestroSabor

Making a cheesecake to honor my grandmother was a no-brainer for me. She loved them! But when I found out that I was to come up with a creative recipe using Nestle’s La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Kit, I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate the coffee she loved to drink every morning and some sea salt to balance the sweet and bitter tastes. I had never made a cheesecake before today but spending time in the kitchen and with the oven today with Nestle products in honor of my grandmother, our history of baking together, and our cultural heritage had me pouring a lot of love into this cheesecake!

Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle NuestroSabor

I headed over to Walmart because I knew they would have what I needed. I found the Nescafe Clasico in the Hispanic food aisle and the Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Kit in the baking section of the store. I was also able to find the other ingredients I needed for the cheesecake while I was there. It was a one-stop shopping trip, thankfully! Be sure to check the box of the Cheesecake Kit to see the list of things you’ll need to pick up while you’re at Walmart – or read on for the recipe below.

Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle NuestroSabor

Café y Dulce de Leche Cheesecake 

Makes: 1 cheesecake
Serves: 8

Prep-time: 20 mins
Bake time: 30 mins
Chill time: 4 1/2 hours

Ingredients:
1 Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Kit
2 tablespoons of Nestle Nescafe Clasico instant coffee
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
12 oz of cream cheese (at room temperature
4 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of sea salt (or to taste)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 325F degrees

2. Prepare the graham cracker crust: melt the butter in a medium size microwave-safe bowl. Mix in the crust mix from the cheesecake mix and 1 tablespoon of the Nescafe Clasico instant coffee until well-blended. Press crust mixture firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie pan.

3. Prepare the cheesecake filling: with a mixer, beat the room temperature cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the Dulce de Leche included in the cheesecake mix in a large mixing bowl at high-speed, scraping the side of the bowl as needed, for about 3 minutes or until completely smooth. Set aside the remaining Dulce de Leche for the topping. Add the filling mix included in the cheesecake kit and the other tablespoon of the Nescafe Clasico coffee and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low-speed after each addition. Pour into crust and smooth out the top.

4. Bake the cheesecake on the center oven rack for 30 to 35 minutes or until almost set. Sides will puff up but center will jiggle gently shaken. Cool to room temperature, about an hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

5. Prepare the topping: warm the remaining Dulce de Leche in a small microwave-safe bowl before serving. Heat on high (100% power) for about 5 seconds and stir. Slice and drizzle cheesecake with Dulce de Leche using a spoon or a pastry bag. Sprinkle sea salt over the cheesecake to taste.

Notes: 

The coffee taste is mild so feel free to add slightly more to the filling mix if you’d like a stronger coffee flavor. If you don’t have sea salt, you can easily use regular salt – it might even give it a more uniform taste than the larger sea salt crystals but you will be losing some of the crunchy texture that they bring. I used a glass pie pan and 30 minutes was enough time to bake. I also ended up freezing it for an extra 30 minutes after refrigeration so that I could make cleaner cuts – it helped!

Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle NuestroSabor

Thank you for letting me share this delicious recipe with you in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month with Nestle! If you make end up making it, I would love to hear what you think of it! Be sure to check at your local Walmart for all of Nestle’s Hispanic products.
#NuestroSabor #CollectiveBias

 How are you celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments! ♥

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The #WeAllGrow Summit : If One Grows, We All Grow

#WeAllGrow Summit

Have you heard about the #WeAllGrow Summit happening February 26-28 at the Line Hotel in Los Angeles? It’s being hosted by Latina Bloggers Connect, one of my favorite blogging collectives and some of my favorite people are on the staff, like Xenia from RaisedbyCulture.com. The theme of the summit is “If One Grows, We All Grow” and I relate so much to that! Let me tell you why.

When I started Skinned Knees in 2011, I was new to my recovery from bulimia. In fact, I barely had my foot in the door with my recovery. I was in my second hospitalized recovery program and while I was determined this time to get better and not kill myself, there were no guarantees at that point. I found healing through writing not only about my recovery but also advocating for the recovery of all people, including people of color, LGBTQ, people of low-income, fat or non-underweight people, and others that were typically ignored in the media when it came to talking about eating disorders. My blog kept me alive by allowing me to focus on the wide scope of people who eating disorders effect.

I needed to shift my focus for me, to heal, and to force myself to find some light in the world again.

After blogging for two years, I decided to shift the focus away from eating disorder recovery and focus more on body positivity and lifestyle topics. I did this for two specific reasons. For one, I was more firmly grounded in recovery even though in my mind, I still felt a bit on shaky ground. I wanted to clear up space in my head (and my blog) for the new recovered person I was becoming. And for two, I had lost my dad about six months earlier and the grief was crippling me. I was writing a lot about it on Skinned Knees but I needed to shift my focus for me, to heal, and to force myself to find some light in the world again.

Marla and Jen at LLBLOG13

In 2013, I went to my first blogging conference where I learned about the business side of blogging. I also met some wonderful friends (like Marla from Marlita on the Run above) and learned about connecting with brands and the ethics of blogging. I started posting about fashion and what it meant to me as a queer fat person of color and how that intersected with my often little to non-existent disposable income in a blogging world that was (and is) all about buying the next new thing. When you are poor, getting creative with fashion to express your individuality becomes almost mandatory to keep up visibility. So that’s what I did. I got creative.

Jen and Aria at IEZQ13

And that brings me up to this year. In January, I brought on my best friend, Aria to join Skinned Knees. It was a big deal for me to trust someone with something that I had worked so hard on but I knew she could bring something to the blog that I couldn’t. Even though we are best friends, we are still very different and come at situations from almost opposite places (but almost always arriving at the same point). She brings another beautiful side to our feminist focus and it’s been amazing to watch her go from taking photos to finding her voice and her space here on Skinned Knees. I love having her as a partner on the blog, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for it!

We are excited to keep talking about things that matter, to stay focused on our brand and causes, and as usual, to keep thinking outside of the box.

I don’t know exactly what the future will bring for Skinned Knees, but I do know that we are excited to keep talking about things that matter, to stay focused on our brand and causes, and as usual to keep thinking outside of the box. We are both strong writers and creative people so this blog gives us an outlet to do what we do best – which means bringing great content to you and exercising that creative self-care arm in the process. And we are beyond stoked to keep connecting with the blog, feminist, body positive, and social justice communities. We love you all so much!

Thank you so much for sticking around as we make this journey – and if you’re new, thank you for joining us! And don’t forget to check out #WeAllGrow Summit for info on how to get involved and how to register! 

We All Grow

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Fatshion: Homegirl featuring the Maricón Collective (and a Giveaway!)

Fatshion Maricon Collective Homies Tee

Friends! I am SO excited to share this with you today! So my good friend Rudy Bleu does a lot of amazing things in and around Los Angeles including running the Maricón Collective (with three other awesome collective members)! The collective is a Queer Chicano/Latino DJ and artist collective that hopes to bring QPOC (queer people of color) people together through dance and celebration. Not only do they host fantastic QPOC local events but they also print limited edition t-shirts typically designed by collective member Manuel Paul – like this AMAZING “Homies” t-shirt! As soon as I saw a sneak peek of this rad design, I knew it had to be mine!

Fatshion Maricon Collective Homies Tee

I have loved Sanrio characters ever since I was a little girl. I used to beg my padrino to take me to the Hello Kitty store when I was in junior high. He always promised to let me pick out one thing and I always picked out those little photo wallets so I could show off my Starshots that I would take with my friends in the mall. You know, the ones that were so overexposed you looked white no matter what, the ones that had brightly patterned background and those blurred filters! The little cholita in me had so many of those taken and you know they were all in my little Sanrio photo wallet.

Fatshion Maricon Collective Homies Tee So when Manuel Paul came up with this design, I was in heaven. This shirt speaks to 6th grade me and to 32-year-old me. Because for reals, how can you go wrong with a Raider fan Kiki, Keroppi being down with the Dodgers, and Tuxedo Sam, Badtz Maru, and Dear Daniel all cholito’d out? I am in total love!

Here’s the outfit details!

Black & white polka dot bandana: Walmart
Heart-shaped aviators: Delia*s
Homies t-shirt: c/o Maricón Collective
Blue skater skirt: Forever 21+
Black bow belt: Macy’s
Black flats: Target

Maricon Collective Homies Button Set Giveaway

Plus as a surprise just for you, one lucky winner will win this pin set! You can wear all the Homies with your favorite jacket, backpack, or wherever else you want to pin them! Be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter below to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope you are as excited about this as I am! Good luck, friends!

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The Infinite Alchemist

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Part of my ongoing process of mental health and self-care is writing. I have also been studying the occult and esoteric subject matter on and off for years. It seems to find me when I need it most. My understanding of how spiritual alchemy ties into psychology and mental health inspired me to write a piece on how I view the healing of the psyche.

The Infinite Alchemist To find the truth in your world is to first find it in yourself. Look in the darkest places of your heart and mind. Find the wall of your limitation and know that it is comprised primarily of trauma, projection, and conditioning. All of which then can be broken down and removed as the psychological, emotional, and spiritual debris that they are. This is the process of true healing. It is not easy. There is no shortcut. It is not just black and white. It is not a straight forward path. This is the greatest work you can begin and it in turn will begin to reflect in all areas of your life. It is the gold of Alchemy. To turn the lead of your life into gold, reflective, illuminated, and of indisputable value. You are not alone in this work but this work is yours alone. Appareo Mutatio infinitealchemistaquarius

I’m happy to share information on psychology,  occult, and esoterica with others. If you are interested in learning more about esoteric or occult subject matter or books on psychology leave me a comment below and I can send you some links.

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