Showing Up and Being Seen

Hi everybody. Let’s take a deep, cathartic breath.

For about a year, I’ve been wrestling with some big things. A year ago, I made some huge changes to my life. Not just that – I became a quitter. I quit my job and I quit a medication that wasn’t working for me. What happened next was amazing: I got into therapy and grad school.

If you know anything at all about stress, you know that even positive changes can produce it. Big, positive things like marriage, moving into a new home, quitting a job that you’ve outgrown… all of these things contribute to stress. I’ve found myself under a mountain of stress in the last year, and rather than letting up, it just keeps changing. I’ve dealt with quitting my job and starting school, but now I’m planning for a field placement and waiting to see where we’re going to be living next 1.

If you know me, you know that I’m a total Type A. I have anxiety, panic disorder, and 25 years’ worth of perfectionism all sloshing around in my brain. Stress hits every single one of those buttons, hard. Feeling like I have little control over the things that stress me out makes this even more complicated. As a result, for months now I’ve been struggling with debilitating perfectionism and social anxiety.

Objectively, I’m the best I’ve ever been by so many societal measures. I’m in grad school, and I have a 4.0. I’m in the best physical shape of my life. I have a partner that I love and our relationship is the best one I’ve ever had. I recently attended an amazing conference where I felt surrounded by love and care.

And yet, I feel so personally disconnected in so many ways. I thought that I had built a safe place for myself here, but instead I feel like I’ve written myself into a corner.I’d love to write about identity, sexuality, communication, love, kinks, and personal journeys. But I’m afraid that if I write anything other than reviews, I’ll be exposed as a self-obsessed fraud.

But I’ve reached a point where I can’t continue feeding this perfectionism and feeling stifled. I want to create quality content, but creativity can only thrive with the rejection of shame. There are so many things that I want to write that end up being gagged and stifled by the perfectionist voice that says No one gives a shit.

If you don’t give a shit, that’s ok. I guess this isn’t for you. But if you’re here for it, I appreciate you so very much and I hope we can explore some exciting new things together.

  1. Please don’t ask me about this. I appreciate that you care, but I can’t talk about that particular issue of uncertainty right now.

All Over the Place Updates

Whew! It’s been a while, and I owe you a bit of an update. Okay, maybe a lot of updates.

As some of you may have noticed, I took a little bit of a step back from my blog in the past couple of months. It wasn’t intentional. Things just began to snowball, and blogging got away from me.

I hadn’t formally announced this on the blog yet, but I’d like you to know that I’m working for KIIROO, a sexual technology start-up. KIIROO makes luxury teledildonic/cyberdildonic sex toys, focused mostly on long distance couples. Officially, I’m a copywriter and content manager. Unofficially, I’m the toy geek and test vagina. I’ve been there since April, so you can see why I’ve been so busy!

It’s a pretty amazing gig, and it even takes me to Amsterdam a few times a month. That having been said, my affiliation with KIIROO has no effect on my toy reviewing. Just like when I was working at a brick and mortar sex toy store, my opinions here remain my own and are in no way influenced by my employers.

Another reason for my absence is one you’ve all heard before if you’ve been reading my blog for some time: Depression. I have a double whammy of clinical depression and hypothyroidism. This means that when one of both of those conditions isn’t treated – or is under-treated – I feel like hell.

Long story short, I went through a months-long process of figuring out how much to adjust both my SSRI and my synthetic thyroid hormone. Now, I think I’m at just about the right place. Sometimes it’s hard to tell, because you sort of get used to a certain energy level and daily ability. Depression can be very subtle and sneaky.

But, I have some good news!

My hours at work have changed, and I’ll once again have Fridays free. This means more blog posts, more toy testing, and more time to network. If you’re waiting on something from me, please be patient just a little while longer. Things are moving into high gear, I promise!

In October, I got the opportunity to attend EroFame, a big erotic trade show in Hannover, Germany. I had a chance to schmooze with some new friends, and got to check out a lot of toys in person. The highlights, for me, included walking away with a JimmyJane Form 2, learning all about L’Amourose and getting my very own Rosa, and seeing that the incomparable Coochy Cream may be coming to Germany (finally)!

Fun story: When I walked past the Classic Erotica stand and saw Coochy, I let out a combination gasp/scream. Immediately, I launched into why it’s the best shave cream (gentle, super soft, no shave rash, best fragrances). Unbeknownst to me, a man was there deliberating whether or not to start carrying Coochy in his shop. And that’s the story of how I got an armload of free Coochy.

Unfortunately, I am participating in No Shave November. My armpit kittens are coming back, and I’m growing out my leg warmers. Why? So I can take pictures in December and weed out the weak.

So, which toys are next? I currently have: a new G-spot dildo from BS is Nice, Curve from Lovecandy by Kendra, Tenga Iroha Mikazuki, JimmyJane Form 2, and L’amourose Rosa. Which one are you most looking forward to seeing? What do you have planned for November?

I’m 23, and (Almost) Everyone Still Likes Me.

I never really did like Blink-182. (Sorry, Alicia.)



Yesterday, I went shopping for some birthday presents. For myself, as one does. And literally everything I picked out was black, yellow, or a combination of the two. For those not in the know, I’m from Pittsburgh, much like Wiz Khalifa, and you know what it is. I definitely find myself missing my city and everyone in it a little bit more today.

That said, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here. I haven’t felt as healthy as I feel now in a very, very long time. Recently, I got the chance to start writing professionally (more on that soon), and besides working on my own writing projects, I’ve been filling my time with making friends, reading, cooking more adventurously, and actually cleaning my apartment. And you know, I really like it. Sometimes, it’s a little bit lonely, but I’ve had time to run errands, learn some new things, practice my Deutsch, up my cooking game, and generally focus on feeling well. I’ve lost about a dress size, possibly around 8lb, just from walking so much, carrying groceries to and fro, and cleaning up my eating. And you know I’ve been having wine and beer like everyday, so it’s not some deprivation bullshit. I just genuinely feel so good here!

On Friday morning, all three of us are heading to Amsterdam for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. We booked an AirBnB apartment so Daphne could come with us and experience her third European city. Because my husband has been there before, I tried to plan a trip that would allow us to see as many new things as possible. Of course, we’re seeing the Anne Frank Haus, the red light district, and the Van Gogh museum, but we also want to see the Electric Ladyland – the Museum of Fluorescence, visit the Reypenaer for cheese tasting, drink at the Brouwerij ‘t IJ – an award-winning brewery, and try some Indonesian food (apparently a local favorite). It’s going to be a really exciting three days!

I guess this blog is sort of changing shape, and becoming more personal. Don’t worry – if you come here for toy reviews, I have a few that need to be written, and a couple more products on the way. I’m not going to stop talking about sex, toys, vaginas, and vulvas. But I am going to keep expanding my blog, taking on new topics as they come into my life.

Speaking of which, I’m looking to start a new fitness program, and I wanted to find something that I could do indoors, with minimal equipment. So, I decided to download the Blogilates App, and get the Beginners Workout Calendar. If you also use the Blogilates app, or just like Cassey’s videos, comment and let me know! I’m planning to get started on Monday, and hopefully order/purchase a suitable mat over the weekend. If you’re interested in my fitness progress, maybe I’ll start doing some fitness posts to keep myself accountable.

I’m Back and All Kinds of Married!

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I’m so sorry for my extended absence! I still have two toy reviews and one book review to write/publish, but I thought a wedding recap would be in slightly higher demand. 😉

Our wedding was on Saturday August 10th, which also happens to be my parents’ anniversary. It was outside, and we were so lucky to have beautiful weather! I believe it was 75 and partly sunny all day. (Thanks, Pittsburgh!)

The Quaker-style ceremony was beautiful, and I pretty much cried the entire time. I also totally forgot that I even had a bouquet. Dmitri only sort of botched the ring bearer job, and Daphne barked only once – during a lull in the time meant for sharing. About 50% of the guests responded with “Amen!” when Steve’s sister closed the ceremony with the words of Ru Paul.

We’re waiting for the official wedding and engagement photos, but as soon as I have them, I’ll be making a pro-photo post with all kinds of beautiful images. I’m really lucky to have a good friend from high school who grew into a talented photographer! For now, I’ll be relying on my friends’ and family’s Instagram snaps.



I’ve been friends with these girls for around 15 years. As you can see, they’re very supportive.

The dress was from Modcloth, and underneath, I wore the same corset that my mother wore on her wedding day. Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn’t breathe. Which led to me changing into my reception apparel after almost choking on homemade sangria.

After my introvert ass had enough of all the (lovely) people milling around, my ~husband~ and I left for our wedding night surprise at around 10pm. It. Was. INCREDIBLE. My mum – with the help of one of my best friends from elementary school – booked us a suite at the Fairmont hotel, where we celebrated like either kings or rap stars. I mean, we drank champagne in the shower. One entire wall was a window. And everything was chocolate.

My good friend Alicia (third from the right in photo #1), who’s made a few appearances on this blog, was the mastermind behind the suite’s – ah hem – creative decorating that night.



And the next morning, after saying goodbye to my new in-laws, we left for Canada. I’d never been outside the country before, so we took off for Toronto, where we’d made reservations via Air B ‘n B.



One of my absolute favorite highlights of the trip include our first dinner in Toronto, at the Grand Electric. If you’re ever in the Parkdale neighborhood, GO. Their tacos are incredible! The drink prices are high, but from what I saw, about what you’d expect in TO. (In Pittsburgh, if you tried to charge me $8 for a standard lager, I’d take your head off.)



The next day, we did some window shopping, met the lovely folks at Good for Her, and did some more mulling about. It was a good day, but by far, my favorite day of our trip was Tuesday, when we went to the beach Centre Island…



Then headed to Come As You Are, where I pretty much wanted to move in and befriend all the staff. I told Steve while we were there, a good sex shop is like my personal spiritual home. Like I can walk in, exhale, and ahhhh… Relaxation and rejuvenation. And dildos. Lots of dildos. And, as I got very excited about and squealed with one of the proprietors, MAPLE FLAVORED CONDOMS! (Which sadly didn’t have that much maple flavor but did smell yummy.)

We’re back in Pittsburgh for now, husband and wife. One week from today, though, we’re heading to Philly, where I’ll be meeting the lovely Caitlin of Sexational!

It’s My Blogiversary Already!

One year ago today, I posted on my long-dead blog that I had a big idea for re-opening the blog.  It was actually a very vague and boring post.  I’m not sure why I did it other than to give myself accountability for whether I would indeed come back.

Much like Jesus, I came back three days later and the rest is history.

(Just kidding – I’m totally not that blasphemous!)

If I had my shit together, I would have tried to organize a giveaway.  As it is, I’m sorry, I have no prizes for you, but I am so grateful that I have friends in this community and people who have really helped me to grow.  This is going to turn into an Oscar speech.  Pretty much every day I’m surprised that people continue to read what I write, and more so that it’s not just a) my mom, or b) one-time visitors.  Because before this blog, I was just someone who had an interest in sex toys and had absolutely no public filter or sense of shame.  Now, I have ajob in the industry, I’m attending my first big conference, and it doesn’t matter if I have a public filter because my lack of a private filter gets me free silicone playthings.  Because I have this outlet and this amazing opportunity to make friends, I feel like I’ve really been able to grow a lot, and I really appreciate everyone who comes back here post after post.

This time last year, I had just gone through a surprisingly rough break-up.  I think the need to start the blog really came about as a way to focus on something for which I had big, long-term aspirations.  I had begun reviewing for EdenFantasys in December, when I decided to quit Pure Romance.  My time exclusively on Eden helped me a lot in a couple of ways, but mostly, I needed experience writing and I needed to learn about toys.  I’ve always been naturally inclined for deep research, in which I learned about phthalates and other undesirables.  (I credit Epiphora for learning how to write a review that doesn’t suck.)  Something really shifted in January, though, when I ordered my first premium toy: a JeJoue MiMi (1st generation).  So, with the budding interest in toys and my years-long love for blogs, I decided to come back and really blur the line between lifestyle and sex, feminism and frivolity.

I’m so glad that even with a few short breaks, this blog has been up and running for a year now.  This is a for-profit blog, and I depend a lot on company partnerships for reviewing.  Without companies willing to work with me, especially as a new reviewer, this blog would either be nowhere or drastically different from what it is today.  I can’t believe the generosity in this community, other reviewers and bloggers included.  I really can’t wait to see what comes next.