April 16th, 2014

Isn't the moon one of the most mesmerizing things to look at?

Did you know that women with irregular menstrual or ovulating cycles can get their cycle back on track by sleeping with light that mimics moonlight? Essentially, you sleep with a little night light on and brighten and dim it as the moon brightens and dims throughout the month. You can skip the nightlight if you can sleep under the stars or with a window or skylight. After a few moon cycles, these women will begin to regularly ovulate when there is a full moon. I learned this while attending Jessa Blades' Fertility Awareness Workshop last month.


Do you feel emotionally or physically affected by the moons phases? If so, then I'm sure you've been on high alert this month because the sky is giving us quite a show. It began with a new moon on March 30/April 1st, followed by a rare "Blood Moon" lunar eclipse on April 14/15, and we will end the month with a solar eclipse on April 28/29. Oh, and there are some meteor showers thrown into the mix as well. Despite all the different meanings these events can have, one thing is certain: We are definitely keeping an eye on the skies this month.

image by Madara Liepiņa

TAGS: ECLIPSE, MOON, MOON CYCLES, MOON PHASES cache cache


April 14th, 2014

This month is full of lunar happenings (more on that later), but tonight's is especially significant because the moon will turn "blood" red at 3:07 AM EDT. The eclipse will begin at 12:54 AM EDT, when the earth will begin to slowly cast a shadow over the moon. At 3:07 "Totality" will happen (which is when the moon is shadowed by the earth completely), and at 6:37 AM the moon will go back to its silvery-white color.

Isn't that fascinating? You can read about the science behind it all here.

It's no news that the moon and our cycles have been believed to be inter-related for ages. We wonder how many women will start their period or ovulate during tonight's Blood Moon!

images via NASA

TAGS: BLOOD MOON, ECLIPSE, LUNAR ECLIPSE, MOON, MOON CYCLE cache cache


April 11th, 2014

Ever since I first started my period, I've almost always had cramps for a couple days after I stopped bleeding. I also usually have very light cramps 3 or 4 days before I start my period, which I've learned to use as a sign that my period is going to start soon. I think everyone who gets their period keeps mental tabs on these patterns, mostly to know how long the pain may last and when to expect the bleeding to begin and end.

Recently, I've been writing these things down. I find it has helped me get to know my menstrual cycle throughout the month. Below are some of the things I write down in my Period Journal. Do you keep any written tabs on your menstrual cycle? What do you write in it?

  • Bloating. I take notes on when I bloat, how long it lasts, and what I ate to see if that may have caused it. I also consider what I eat while bloated to see what stops bloating for me.
  • Abdominal pain. I have ovarian cysts and they come and go as they please. It can be really painful and incredibly annoying because I feel like I have no control over when it happens and what can be done to stop the cysts from growing. Doctors have said getting on the birth control pill is the only way to diminish them entirely. I've been keeping track of when I'm in pain, exactly where it is, and how long it lasts. I'm trying to find patterns with my cysts to better help me understand them.
  • Bleeding. I write down how long my cycle is. It seems like every 5 months I have a 28-day cycle compared to my usual 32-day cycle. It used to catch me by surprise, and I thought I must have a totally irregular cycle, but I know now that my cycle isn't irregular, it just regularly likes to give me a shorter cycle a few times a year.
  • Cramps. My cramps aren't very bad, but I like to keep track of how they lead up to my cycle as well as what remedies I can use to treat them. My current favorite is The Period Store Magic Heat Pack.
  • Body Aches. I always feel achy and tired on the first day of my period. I am now writing down exactly where I am achy, for how long, and what can help me deal with it.
  • Moods. I feel like getting my package from The Period Store a week before my period is the perfect way for me to be a little more aware of my PMS and possible mood swings. Before, I used to get my period and think "Oh that's why I cried while watching that commercial the other day." Now I can foresee my emotions.

TAGS: CRAMPS, MOOD SWINGS, PERIOD JOURNAL, PMS cache cache


April 9th, 2014

Best friends are the best. You can call them whenever and you know they'll pick up the phone or call you right back. You can talk about nothing and everything, and when you're having "one of those days" they know exactly what to say to make things right.

We love best friends.

image source

TAGS: FRIENDS cache cache


April 4th, 2014


The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

Ashley Seil Smith is cofounder of The Period Store and earning her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.  You can see a past highlight on Ashley here.  

We've included a few pieces by Ashley in packages over the last six months and decided it was probably about time we posted them here along with a brief interview!

Periodical: So, how's your period been since our last interview?

Since starting The Period Store, my period health has greatly improved (aside from the stress...).  This store has forced me to take inventory of my period health and be more proactive about making each period better.  I've always had horribly painful periods but I've been learning gradually how to ease my period symptoms by eating healthier, lighter meals - especially around my period - and by avoiding certain medicines that actually exacerbate my symptoms and leave  me feeling more sick (like ibuprofen).  

In the past year I've met a lot of women who love their periods and while I'm not sure that I will ever love my period, I'm into loving my body and making each period a better experience.

P: Tell us about the pieces you created for our monthly packages.

The Frida piece (below) was inspired by Rubi's trip to Casa Azul over the holidays.  Like so many others, I've always loved Frida Kahlo.  I learned about her life, including the bus accident, severed uterus and other health problems, in high school.  It wasn't until my adult life that I came to understand how this influenced her work.  She grew up surrounded by women and was deeply affected by the acutely female tragedies of her life, including a handful of miscarriages.  These themes of tragedy and pain often show up in her work.  She painted as a way to communicate with others and to cope with life.  Though marked by difficulty, her life and her paintings were strong and beautiful, so I had fun doing this small Frida color study as a tribute.

My other other piece, the Cherry Picker, is either full of symbols and euphemisms, or not - whichever way you prefer to view it.  I'm not always big on talking about my work because it's OK if people don't get some aspects of it or reinterpret it for themselves.  I'm also still figuring out how I like to work best, so I consider every piece an experiment. 


Do you have work that you would like to submit to The Period Store?  Contact us! info[at]theperiodstore.com 

All limited edition prints are 5"x7" and printed on premium, acid-free archival fine art paper.

TAGS: FRIDA KAHLO, ILLUSTRATION cache cache


March 31st, 2014

(AND WHY ITS NOT AWKWARD TO ASK THEM)

By: Megan Silianoff

It’s always awkward when someone discovers I’ve had cancer. I’m not sure why - it’s not like I’m embarrassed about it. I’m just as willing to talk about cancer as I am Lindsay Lohan’s new reality show or my new-found crush on Harry Connick Jr.

My history of cancer always comes up in one of two ways. Scenario one is when people inquire (say at a wedding for instance) about “what I do”. I tell them about my blog, my freelance clients, and my social media consulting and then I say “and I wrote a book last year.”  The follow up question is obviously “What was your book about?” and I tell them it was a cancer/adoption memoir. Usually this poor wedding goer gets really confused and/or sad and I have to cheer them up and say “Don’t worry!! I’m okay! And you will be too!”

Scenario two happens when people find out my daughter, Macy, is adopted. I always let the “she looks just like you” comments go by because she does, sort of, look like me. But sometimes it feels like lying by omission. For example, I get “you are so skinny for having had a baby” often. While I can’t stress to you how the sheer euphoria I get when people think I’m skinny (even with the caveat of “just having a baby”) I feel like I should clarify which results in the onslaught of my story.

Here’s the thing though – it’s okay to ask people questions about something they bring up whether it be sickness, divorce, or even death. If they brought it up – chances are they are fine having a conversation about it.  The reason I’m not bringing up my high school ACT score is because I don’t want to talk about it.  But I mentioned cancer, so ask away! Or say “bummer” and let’s move on. I’d be happy to show you pics of Harry on my phone. Let’s just not have an awkward exchange about it.

Now that we’re well acquainted and comfortable, here are the top ten questions I get about my ovarian cancer.

TOP TEN QUESTIONS I GET ABOUT MY OVARIAN CANCER

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

28. (I’m 32 now.)

How did the doctors find it?

It hurt when I peed. And my lower abdominal area hurt to the touch. Once my relatively small dog jumped on my stomach and it was way more painful than it should have been.

Did you have a family history?

Nope!

Did you get tested for the BRCA gene?

Yes I was tested but didn’t have the gene. For those of you who are “um, what?” about the BRCA gene read this New Yorker article by Angelia Jolie. My book would make a great choice to beef up on the subject as well.

Did you have to have chemo/radiation?

No, thankfully. My specific type of ovarian cancer doesn’t respond to chemo or radiation. When it appears you just have to physically remove it with surgery.

Are you scared it’s going to come back?

Only during my follow up appointments. 99% of my life I don’t even think about cancer. But on the days of my follow up appointments (every three to six months) while I’m waiting for the results of my ultra sounds or CT Scans I convince myself it’s back. My doctor then tells me I’m fine and resume worrying about more frivolous things like whether or not I should get a chocolate chip cookie from the cafeteria on my way out of the hospital. (I usually decide I absolutely should.) 

Did you have a hysterectomy?

No. I ‘ve had my right ovary removed. But I still have a left one and a uterus.

Did you go into menopause? What was that like?

Yes. Menopause was not as bad as I envisioned. I couldn’t sleep at night. I would wake up in the middle of the night wide awake.

My tastes also changed. I used to start dreaming about my morning coffee the previous afternoon but I couldn’t even drink a full cup when I was in menopause. My body/taste buds just didn’t want it anymore.

I had a lower mood, some depression which my doctors told me was very normal.

Last but certainly not least the infamous hot flashes! Mine were manageable. They would come on quickly and leave quickly (2 minutes-ish) and it’s not like I needed to shower or anything. It’s a different type of heat and sweat than you get from, say, going for a run.  

Do you still get your period?

I have recently, yes. I wouldn’t say my cycle is regular or consistent but I’ve definitely gotten it which is how I knew I’d come out of menopause. Are You There God? It’s Me, Megan!

Can you have kids?

Not biologically but as I mentioned above my husband and I adopted a baby girl from an adoption agency in Austin, Texas. We named her Macy Carter after the movie Uncle Buck and my favorite rapper Jay Z.  My book chronicles all of that – you should totally read it.

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Megan Silianoff writes the popular lifestyle blog, Greetings from Texas, and her debut memoir 99 Problems but a Baby Ain’t One was published in September of last year.  Megan has spoken for a number of companies and conferences including Facebook, the US Navy, Alt Summit, and Texas Style Council. Megan resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and her toddler daughter, Macy Carter, whom she named after the movie Uncle Book and rapper Jay-Z.  Megan watches an obscene amount of TV – favorites including Girls, Downton Abbey, and Homeland.

photo by Awake Photography

TAGS: ADOPTION, BOOKS, CANCER, MENOPAUSE, OVARIAN CANCER cache cache


March 28th, 2014

What is this little plant root and why is it becoming a saving grace for so many in pain? The root is called corydalis. No stranger to the Asian herbal medicine pharmacopeia but practically unheard of in the U.S. until Dr. Oz talked about it for fast, natural pain relief on a January episode of the Dr. Oz show.

“I first experienced the effects of corydalis years ago while in school and my husband hurt his back. He was laying flat on the floor all weekend and all over-the-counter pain killers were completely worthless. I gave him a dose of the powdered corydalis granules in a cup of tea and the pain was gone within an hour” explained Susan. A colleague of mine at Emperors College of Traditional Oriental Medicine. “Even I was in shock because I knew this herb but didn’t realize its potential until I saw it in action.”

My first experience with this pain relieving herb effects of corydalis in a formulation of herbs for menstrual cramps. It was so effective I could hardly believe it. I had suffered with cramps from the time I was 15 years old and although not terrible every month I was always popping 1 or 2 pain pills to get through the first day of my cycle. When I learned and started using Chinese herbal medicine, my monthly cramps were gone. I could even go for a run during my period. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this herb and others before. It’s truly been a life saver.

Corydalis is a well studied herb and active ingredients are known alkaloids which produce the pain relieving effects.  It is the compound, dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), that is most responsible for the herb’s main pain-relieving effects. Similar to prescription pain medications this compound blocks pain signals in the brain, but without any addictive qualities.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, (TCM) corydalis is known to invigorate the blood, move qi (energy that travels through the body), and alleviate pain. Corydalis is always used in conjunction with other herbs to increase its effectiveness. It has been part of PMS Relief Herb Pack from the onset of launching this product in 2010. Since then we’ve sold over 100,000 packets of PMS relief and our fan base has been growing.

We hope more women will give it a try for their period cramps, back pain or any menstrual related pain. Not only does PMS Relief Herb Pack taste great it provides noticeable pain relief within 20 minutes and is taken only when needed. 

Add a PMS Relief Herb Pack to your next Period Store package here.

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Cathy is the founder of Pacific Herbs. She is a a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist and Diplomat of Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Master's Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, undergraduate degree from SMU, and is the author of "Stop Your Bitching...Naturally! A Step By Step Guide to Balance Your Hormones Naturally and End PMS & Menstrual Cramps"

TAGS: CORYDALIS, CRAMPS, HERBAL REMEDIES, PAIN RELIEF, TEA cache cache


March 24th, 2014

We turned 1 year old this month. All of our subscribers received a free tote bag to celebrate. Hooray!

Thank you so much for all of your support. We look forward to many more birthdays with you!

Check out photos from our launch party.

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March 21st, 2014

Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Jane Cochran), even by today’s standards, was a force to be reckoned with. Despite very humble beginnings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she became a formidable reporter who told the stories of the repressed, the bullied and the adventurous.

She got her start in 1880 when she responded to a particularly misogynistic article in her local paper. They were so impressed with her pluck and earnestness that they gave her a job. She spent her early years focusing on investigative pieces on the lives of female factory workers, and later, as a foreign correspondent to Mexico. As a 21 year-old reporter in a foreign country she took on topics such as the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and the unjust imprisonment of local journalists.

One of my favorite stories is the work she did as an undercover reporter with New York World in which she feigned insanity in order to expose the brutality and neglect that was rampant in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

She began in a local boardinghouse where she began to do strange things and stay up all night talking to herself. When she was reported by neighbors she faked amnesia in front of the judge who had her examined by several doctors who declared her “positively demented.”

Once committed to the asylum she was able to gather important information about the deplorable conditions that the patients were exposed to day after day.

After 10 days New York World was able to get her released and her story caused many much-needed changes in the legal and social systems throughout the Nation.

She went on to travel the world reporting on the behalf of the underprivileged and the oppressed until the day she died in 1922.


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Elisse Newey is a 4th grade teacher, genealogist and mother of a 3 month old -  deep in the heart of Texas.

TAGS: ELISSE NEWEY, NELLIE BLY, THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN cache cache


March 19th, 2014

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

Jana Miller is a hand lettering artist (and Butterfinger lover) from Southern California. All her drawings are done in pencil and ink and then digitalized. She is currently working on a project called, 333 Days of Hand Lettering.

The Period Store: Tell us about yourself.

Jana: I'm a 48 year old artist from Orange County California. When I'm not creating hand lettered designs, I work with 5th graders in the public schools. I teaching blogging, crochet, macrame and a little bit of math. Mostly, I just listen to their stories and try to encourage them when things are tough.

TPS: How's your period?

J: I got my first period in 5th grade. And my fifth grade year was the worst ever. We had all passed around the Judy Blume books, without our mom's knowing. Even though Judy celebrated this part of life, I cried because I wasn't happy about getting it at all. I cried each time I got it until I accepted the fact that it wasn't going away. Funny how, I ended up working with 5th graders!

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for The Period Store packages.

J: I'm really hard on myself and I expect myself to be perfect a lot. This means, I fight against my body sometimes. I live in a household of men, raising two sons with my husband. I confess, I have chocolate in my nightstand. That way I know it will be there when I need it. It's my way of being nice to myself and honoring my life as a woman.

TPS: How do you think being a woman influences your work?

J: I made a commitment when I started my hand lettering project that I would post my drawings, even the ones that were not my favorites. As a woman and a recovering perfectionist, this is often a battle. I take it one day at a time. And I'm happy with the direction I'm headed. 

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Are you an artist with work you'd like to submit to The Period Store?  Send us an e-mail at info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: ART, CHOCOLATE cache cache


March 17th, 2014


Last week, we had the opportunity to attend a screening of the film Menstrual Man, which has been making its rounds on the internet over the past month (thank you everyone who has sent us period-related articles). We were first introduced to Arunachalam Muruganantham aka Menstrual Man over a year ago via his TED Talk. Since then, Amit Virmani made a documentary film about Menstrual Man's story and his journey making sanitary napkins for women in rural India. It is such a great film and about so much more than just menstruation. We also were fortunate enough to have a skype Q & A with the director last night after the screening at the Maylses Cinema. The group of individuals who came out to the screening last night was so inspiring, we fell in love with the community at the cinema.

Now, to say we highly recommend this film is an understatement. The fact that part of it was filmed in the same village Ashley and Nate (our co-founders) studied in before starting The Period Store was a definite bias for us. Besides that, it is an incredible story, and a very well-done film.

We've always said that menstruation has long been a conversation led by men selling products to women by attributing shame to the topic. It was so incredibly refreshing to see two men, Arunachalam Muruganantham (Menstrual Man) and Amit Virmani (the director), leading this conversation in such a positive direction. Some of the goals of The Period Store have always been to empower women to embrace this topic which is so entirely feminine, stop the shame, and have like-minded individuals (regardless of gender) leading this conversation. There are so many men and women who are doing this around the globe, and we are happy to support this cause ourselves.


Join us to educate, break the taboo, and empower each other with all the choices we have available for menstrual health.

The film is available to watch online for $3.99 - we encourage everyone to watch it. You will fall in love with Menstrual Man.

TAGS: FILM, INDIA cache cache


March 12th, 2014


"When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead." - Ban Bossy

We pledge to ban the negative connotation of the term bossy. Will you?




TAGS: BAN BOSSY, LEAN IN cache cache


March 10th, 2014

Our friends at What the F Magazine in Ann Arbor, Michigan threw their very own Menstruation Celebration a few weeks ago. We were very happy to be a part of their party - see party photos here.

We've had mixed responses to our own Menstruation Celebration, and some of the negative ones have only made it clearer to us how important it is for everyone to talk about periods. We are not trying to make it the topic of every conversation, but it definitely shouldn't be a shameful thing to discuss. Why do you think it's important to talk about periods?

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February 28th, 2014

It seems like every day we come across a new organization for women, many of them specifically created to educate women and girls about menstruation. This is a wonderful thing! We've talked about SHE and Menstrupedia and we carry a lot of brands that give a portion of their sales to women in need.  We recently discovered Mythri - a video created to impart "awareness on menstrual hygiene to adolescent girls" in India.   If you know of a teen just starting her period, we highly recommend this video.  

You can read more about Mythri in this New York Times article - we especially loved this quote from Ms. Joseph, one of the video's creators:

Ms. Joseph said women needed to laugh at menstruation and at themselves. “Girls will respond to your tone,” she said. “If I am embarrassed, the girls will be, too. If I laugh and treat it as normal, so will they, and see it as normal.

We love hearing about these organizations! If you are a part of an organization or come across one you think we should know about, we'd love to hear from you.  

TAGS: INDIA cache cache


February 21st, 2014

We've partnered with Underland NY to bring you a new music playlist curated exclusively for The Period Store customers and followers every month. Have you downloaded your February music playlist yet? Listen to Fresh curated by Underland here.

Underland only works with independent artists, so much of the music you’re going to hear is completely new and off the radar. We encourage you to explore the bands you like and appreciate any feedback you may have (love notes to bands are always appreciated). Happy menstruating!

Special thanks to Underland and all of the wonderful musicians featured in this month's playlist. We encourage you to support your favorite independent artists so they can keep making the sounds you love to hear <3.

F0XYr4bB!T: soundcloud.com/foxy-rabbit
Rails: soundcloud.com/rails-nyc
No Reason to Live: hugepupils.tumblr.com/search/no+reason+to+live
Blusher: blusher.bandcamp.com
True Key: soundcloud.com/truekey
Trololo: trololo.bandcamp.com

Share your favorite song with us on twitter!  @UnderlandNY, @ThePeriodStore #PeriodPlaylist

TAGS: UNDERLAND NY cache cache


February 18th, 2014

The Period Store is looking for a design intern!

If you enjoy girl talk, graphic design, feminine hygiene confetti .gifs, and sweets, then we'd love to meet you. This is a 3-month position with an average workload of 8 hrs a week and the flexibility of working from NYC or remotely.

Apply by emailing us at: info@theperiodstore.com with the subject line "Intern" and we'll get back to you with more details.

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February 17th, 2014

We are so excited to introduce the newest addition to The Period Store - the Magic Heat Pack, a cramp heating pad that you can find in the heat therapy section of our shop. You can now choose between the three heating pads we carry: our bendable Magic Heat Pack, and our fabric Rice Heat Pack and the classic Magic Heat Pack (as shown above). We made these heat pads to help ease and reduce cramps, muscle pains, arthritis pains, tendonitis and warming hands or feet in the cold. We call it magic because it can be used and reused hundreds of times indoors or out. The Magic Heat pack is made with non-toxic sodium acetate that is activated by the click of a small metal disk which hardens the liquid inside and turns it into the perfect temperature to help ease period cramps and other body aches.

Add one of our Heat Therapy items to your next package!


TAGS: CRAMPS, HEAT THERAPY, MAGIC HEAT PACK cache cache


February 14th, 2014

Love,
The Period Store


TAGS: MENSTRUAL CUP, REUSABLE PAD, SEA SPONGE, TAMPONS cache cache


February 7th, 2014

One of The Period Store's goals is to expose women to all the different options available for period management. We encourage our customers to try out different products and find something that works for their lifestyle. We have tried out so many different products since starting The Period Store and want to give you a chance to try out new products as well. Which is why we're having a GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever used reusable pads? We've heard several women compare them to "sitting on a pillow". We're giving one lucky winner a GladRags 3-day reusable pads pack, GladRags Menstruation Sensation zine, and a The Period Store tote bag. Enter our giveaway by following the instructions below.

To Enter:

- Follow the instructions in the widget bellow.

You have THREE chances to enter so good luck!

The winner will be chosen at random at 12:00am on February 14th.

*The Period Store and Rafflecounter won't use your email address for any reason but to contact the winner of the giveaway and to keep track of the number of times you entered.

TAGS: GIVEAWAY, REUSABLE PADS cache cache


February 5th, 2014

We are very excited about the sweets we're sending out in our February packages. The sweet this time around is from Maine-based Bixby & Co. Their chocolate bars are handmade with premium organic chocolate, they contain no GMO's, preservatives, are kosher certified, gluten-free and vegan. They are made with Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa, their materials are FSC approved and they are Youth Certified. Now just wait until you try your bar because on top of all that, their chocolate bars are delicious.

Periodical: Tell us about yourself.  Where are you located and what's your story?

Bixby & Co: Bixby & Co. is located in Mid Coast Maine. In March of 2014, we will move into our own dedicated factory in Rockland Maine. I am Kate McAleer a 26-year-old entrepreneur who started the company two years ago. I played on the varsity woman’s golf team for New York University and found the candy available on the golf course full of additives, preservatives, corn syrups and compound chocolate (chocolate with added oils and waxes). Candy needed to be re-invented! Bixby Bars were soon born as candy re-invented to contain real chocolate and real foods—nuts, fruits and spices.

P: Tell us what you think about periods.

B: Periods are a normal function of life with many things your Mother never prepares you for! Probably because each one of us is different and periods vary due to our systems, what we may be using for birth control if being used, diet, exercise and environment, stresses and on and on.

For me, I find that exercise and good nutrition along with good rest really make a difference on how I feel and handle my period each month. Getting outside to ski, snowshoe or just take a walk. Eating “clean food” with lots of vegetables and fruits and taking a protein smoothie for breakfast each morning really allows one to move through our normal cycles with ease and comfort.

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?

B: Bixby Bars are organic chocolate with fruit, nuts and spices that are exotic and interesting flavors. It is a satiating snack that feels and tastes indulgent while not loaded with sugar but instead with fiber and protein from nuts and fruits. There are no preservatives or additives, Bixby Bars are non-GMO verified, certified Kosher and certified Gluten-Free.

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Thank you Bixby & Co.!  Follow them on twitter, facebook, and instagram.

TAGS: CHOCOLATE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN cache cache


February 3rd, 2014

The focus around here is usually on women, but we're pretty excited about The Mask We Live In.  We can get behind any movement that encourages compassion and kindness.  Take a look!

TAGS: GENDER, MEN, THE MASK WE LIVE IN cache cache


January 31st, 2014

Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed is one of my personal heroes. She is most well-known for being a pioneer in the field of mountaineering long before it was socially acceptable for women to climb mountains. In addition to mountain climbing, she was a photographer, author and one of the first female film-makers. Overall, she made over 10 films about her adventures in the Alps. It is also worth mentioning that she did all of this in a dress. Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed was no joke.

From her book – True Tales of Mountain Adventure for Non-Climbers Young and Old
"There is no manlier sport in the world than mountaineering. It is true that all the sports Englishmen take part in are manly, but mountaineering is different from others, because it is sport purely for the sake of sport. There is no question of beating anyone else, as in a race or a game, or of killing an animal or a bird as in hunting or shooting. A mountaineer sets his skill and his strength against the difficulty of getting to the top of a steep peak. Either he conquers the mountain, or it conquers him. If he fails, he keeps on trying until he succeeds. This teaches him perseverance, and proves to him that anything is possible if he is determined to do it."

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Elisse Newey is a 4th grade teacher, genealogist and mother of a 3 month old -  deep in the heart of Texas.

TAGS: ELISSE NEWEY, THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN cache cache


January 29th, 2014


We met so many wonderful people at Altitude Summit last week. It was inspiring to be surrounded by all the creativity at the conference. We stocked the bathrooms with Organyc products, which is our newest line of organic tampons and pads - search Organyc in the shop to check out the full range.

We also made this infographic for the conference attendees with some data based on internal surveys and we thought we'd share it with all of you as well. Enjoy!

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January 28th, 2014

We were so excited to include The Period Store products in Park City Television's Sundance Film Festival gift bags for this year's festival. We were included alongside a select number of other great products and we also had the chance to be on Park City Television's morning show on one of the last days of the festival to talk a bit about our company. Chelsea (the host) and the whole team at Park City TV were great to us and we are very grateful for the opportunity.

Watch our segment with co-founders Ashley and Rubi below:




Thank you PCTV!
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January 27th, 2014
Last week we had the opportunity to chat periods on ABC 4 Utah Midday and introduce our newest vendor Organyc. Organyc makes 100% Organic Cotton tampons, pads, pantiliners as well as 100% organic feminine wipes and intimate wash. Include them in your next package here.

Watch our segment on ABC 4 Utah Midday with co-founder Ashley below:

 
Thank you to the entire team at ABC 4 Utah!
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January 22nd, 2014

We've stocked up the bathrooms at Alt Summit SLC so you'll all be taken care of if Aunt Flo decides to attend the conference this week as well!

Co-founders Ashley and Rubi will be at the conference, tweet us @theperiodstore to say hi!


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January 13th, 2014

We have partnered with The ( • ) Project and will be sharing one story every other month on our blog The Periodical. See past stories here.


The ( • ) Project is a tumblr devoted to first period stories of 300 words or less (fiction and nonfiction) written by individuals of any gender or age. The stories are short enough to make you click through all of their archives without giving it a second thought.

Submit your own first period story to The Period Project by emailing it to theperiodprojectblog@gmail.com. Your story can be fiction or nonfiction — 300 words or less— of first periods, written by individuals of any gender or age.

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January 8th, 2014

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

This cycle's piece was created by Gaby Aleman, a graphic design student and artist based in San Diego, California. You can follow her inspirations and art on instagram @gaby_rielle.  See our interview with Eliza below!

The Period Store:  Tell us about yourself.

Gaby: I’m Gaby and I’m a graphic design student from San Diego. I attend San Diego State University and will graduate this May, yay me! Aside from being a student, I work with high school kids and hold art classes for them. My goal in life is to produce work that will make people feel some sort of emotion, whether it is good or bad.

TPS: How's your period?

G: Well, I was nine years old when I got my first period and I hated it for years. It was always irregular and heavy. But now at twenty-five, I’ve began to understand how interesting and intense a period is, our uterus gets all dolled up to hold a baby, and when no baby shows up, she cleans up, throws out the waste and waits till next month, she puts in a lot of work, you gotta respect that.

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for this month's period package.

G: During a period, I become a sobbing, overly- sensitive, sweaty mess. And I know for me I feel my weakest during that time, so I wanted to take a quote that was strong and directed towards men, and transform it into an empowering statement that women could relate to. Winston Churchill was known to be a bit of a chauvinist, so taking his quote and putting my spin on it was something I thought women could enjoy, turning a negative into a positive. The uterus in my piece appears to be a mounted trophy, expressing how women should be proud of themselves for over coming a tough internal battle.

TPS: How do you think being a woman influences your work?

G:  I believe women are able to express themselves more openly than men, and I think that’s a big advantage that we have. I happen to be a very passionate person, my feelings are always extreme, but that also comes with being a Pisces.  So, being a woman with these qualities has a lot to do with what influences my work. I've had stages where my work is based off of Mexican calaveras, naked men and women, German children's stories, love, and periods. All done from a woman's perspective.

---

Thanks, Gaby!  You can view Gaby's work here.  Are you an artist with work you'd like to submit to The Period Store?  Send us an e-mail at info[at]theperiodstore.com

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January 6th, 2014

We've been in love with and following SHE for a while now.  What we love most is their market-based approach to development.  They're not only giving products away, they're building whole communities.

For every women-led and operated business that she invests in, approximately 100 jobs are created and approximately 100,000 girls and women have access to affordable sanitary pads. Multiply this by 12 franchises and 1200 jobs will be created and 1 million girls and women will be reached.   

When you get the chance - spread the word, donate and make a difference in the lives of women and girls.

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January 3rd, 2014

Being a Mexican-American female, one of my first introductions to art was Frida Kahlo. I distinctly remember hearing the story of the tragic bus accident that broke multiple bones in her body and severed her uterus, leaving her infertile and with health problems that affected her throughout her short life. Despite the complex life she had, Frida became one of the most recognized female artists in the world. Her self-portraits and paintings are widely loved and have been shown in museums all around the world.

I was lucky enough to visit her house "Casa Azul," which is now the Museo Frida Kahlo, with my sister and her family. It was similar to visiting Monet's home in Giverny. Her artwork was exhibited throughout the space, her and Diego Rivera's art collection was displayed throughout the home, their kitchen was decorated as it was when they lived there, and their rooms and art studios were also there as they left them. There was also a temporary exhibition of her famous dresses which had been in storage up until recently and is now being shown to the public for the first time. It was beautiful. My sister and I spoke about the strength seeing her work gives us as women. Are you a fan of Frida? What artists speak to you?

"Las apariencias engañan" - Frida Kahlo "Looks can be deceiving".

---

Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store.

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January 1st, 2014


Love, The Period Store

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December 30th, 2013

Sex & World Peace by Valerie M. Hudson
The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things by Anna Holmes
Woman Code by Alisa Vitti
Vagina by Naomi Wolf
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Global Feminisms Since 1945 by Bonnie G. Smith

Do you have any books you hope to read in 2014?

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December 25th, 2013


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December 23rd, 2013

“My periods are going on!”  , say these words in public and you feel like you’ve beheaded someone. In India, menstruation is sculpted into dramatic scenarios. Journey to become a lady from a girl is not that easy I guess!

I was on my first industrial tour after opting into engineering and was having the second day of my period too!! Things were fine till we, a group of 12 girls and 8 guys, where asked to enter the premise of a small temple. Suddenly a friend of mine started giving me those looks and I said “yes I am having my periods” needless to say that I could not enter the temple in those days.  I had to wait for my peers to return back from the temple. I heard giggles among guys while returning back to college. Is this where we have reached in 21st century?

I am called Saraswati, Laxmi , Durga and Sakti. But I am a lady; I get my periods every month, irrespective of any situation or occasion and it is to be respected. I wonder why these restrictions exist just for us. Why am I not allowed to go to temples, not allowed to touch anyone at home, and not go to work during those days?

I am not against anyone’s beliefs and rituals.  I often think why people in our society take periods or menstruation as a tabooed subject and not as a normal biological process that every girl has to undergo monthly.

It’s not completely the males who don’t understand periods and burden us with restrictions, but a major role is played by the women. They themselves have created these restrictions and pass it from one generation to another without knowing the facts, making it more difficult for the younger generation to go through it. Aren’t women first to be understood by women themselves? Instead of being empathetic about the situation, they make every possible ways to make a girl follow certain myths and restriction within the family.

Being an engineer, I naturally tend to question the root of certain beliefs our society has enforced on us. I want to question things and I don’t want people to give me those looks when I say I am having my periods. Give your lady the respect she deserves, the love, care and rest that is required during her periods.

Let her go to temple I say, and let the sacred ambiance create positivity in her. Let her cook, it’s her kitchen.  Let her work, give her that hygienic workplace. Let her live, she is truly bearing all this for you. These restrictions and taboos are manmade; God never wants to restrict anyone. In fact, God always wanted women to be free and powerful and that’s why he subjected every power of nature in Goddess Sati. Respect that power!!

Author: Monica Yadav is a young biotech engineer from Ahmedabad, India. She is passionate about educating kids through storytelling.

--

This guest post is part of a collaboration between Menstrupedia and The Period Store. We encourage you to learn more about menstruation in Indian culture on Menstrupedia.com

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December 19th, 2013

As a hairstylist, I find these ads especially entertaining. See the text below:

"In your thoughts summer joys are never-ending, nothing keeps you out of the swim, away from the merriment, apart from the party, nothing can... If you use the cool, clean, fresh protection of Tampax."

"You muse on moving through the lighthearted worlds of summer...confident, comfortable, cool, clean, fresh...Listen! As a voice whispers the freedom of Tampax."

"In your mind you know the freedoms of Tampax...the swimming, the sunning, the poise, the comfort, the cool, clean, fresh feeling...heed the inner voice that urges you to use Tampax."

Larger images on The Pie Shop's flickr page.

---

Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store.

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December 18th, 2013

We've partnered with Underland NY to bring you a new music playlist curated exclusively for The Period Store customers and followers every month. Have you downloaded your December music playlist yet? Listen to Spice curated by Underland here.

Underland only works with independent artists, so much of the music you’re going to hear is completely new and off the radar. We encourage you to explore the bands you like and appreciate any feedback you may have (love notes to bands are always appreciated). Happy menstruating!

Special thanks to Underland and all of the wonderful musicians featured in this months playlist. Check them out below.

Scott Tixier, EOLA, Soltero, Awning, Billy Rock, Shane Palko, Reigen 

Like what you hear? Tweet us @UnderlandNY #PeriodPlaylist

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December 17th, 2013

Still have last minute Christmas shopping to get done? Get a Period Store gift card here!

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December 13th, 2013
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the lining of a woman's uterus grows in places outside of the womb causing chronic pain, internal bleeding, and often infertility.

The average time it takes for a woman to receive an accurate endo diagnosis is 10 years. Kelle shares about this on her blog and ours in hopes of raising awareness, decreasing that average diagnosis time, and providing a small resource for her "endo-sisters" out there.

In dealing with all the emotional and physical pain that comes with endometriosis, there are a lot of situations where kind-hearted people want to offer support, but don't know what they should say. And often, in an effort to be loving and comforting, they end up being accidentally insulting.

So I am sharing a few less-than-helpful comments that I've heard from nurses, doctors, friends, family, and coworkers multiple times.

Not to embarrass anyone who has said these things to me, but to hopefully explain why these things aren't appropriate to say to women with endometriosis and provide some positive alternatives for moments when well-intentioned people are looking to provide comfort.

If you know a woman who is suffering with endometriosis, please don't say....

1. "Have you tried Ibuprofen?"
This is a really common one. I even got asked this a few times in the Emergency Room, while I was crying in pain. Women with endometriosis have often been dealing with severe, chronic pain for at least 5-10 years. Just go ahead and assume that at some point, they've tried Ibuprofen, Midol, and anything else they could get their hands on in the medicine aisle of their local grocery store. And for the majority of the time, those pills do not even touch the pain which is why they turn to heavier medications.

2. "I mean, you look like you feel well so it can't be that bad."
This one's always a little rollercoaster for me. Starts as a compliment, ends as an insult. "Thanks! Oh, waiiiit... that's not a compliment, you think I'm a liar." Endometriosis is labeled as an "invisible illness". Everyone's body handles it differently. Some women have severe bloating in the abdomen and you may be able to tell when someone looks tired, but just because someone has learned to function in their life and brush their hair through their flare ups, doesn't mean their pain doesn't exist on an extreme level.

3. "You just want people to feel sorry for you."
Most girls with endometriosis who decide to share their experiences, do so for several reasons :
- they want to raise awareness for a disease that many people have never heard of.
- they want to explain themselves to the friends they constantly flake on or the boss they're calling in sick to
- they want to connect and relate with other girls with endometriosis
Attention and sympathy don't come up on that list. I guess maybe for some girls, but not for most.

4. "If there isn't a cure, you're going to need to just toughen up and get over it."
First of all, don't ever let someone take away your hope like that. There isn't a cure but there are many treatments that women have found relief from. It's a long process, but eventually improvement can be found if the right treatment is introduced to the right person. Second of all, women with endometriosis are tough so much of the time. This goes back to endometriosis being an 'invisible illness'. People assume it's something small enough that you can get over it, but it's not. It's emotionally, physically, and mentally draining on every level. Keep your hope but don't ever feel like you should be able to 'get over it'.

5. "It could be worse, at least you don't have cancer."
I never know what to say to this, so I will just share one quick quote from a doctor I recently started seeing. He is a naturopathic doctor, married to a woman who was having surgeries for her endometriosis every 2 years, like many women do, with no relief from pain. He went into natural medicine to try and find a way to help her because he saw the struggle firsthand and couldn't believe the lack of understanding that the surgical professionals had about endometriosis cases. His words at my appointment validated me more than anything ever has :

"People who haven't seen it firsthand refuse to see endometriosis as something serious and detrimental because it isn't life threatening. No, it isn't going to take your life. It's just going to stop it completely. You'll be alive, but incapable of living. You'll work twice as hard for half the success in life. It's not living at all."

Every day, I am very thankful that my condition is not worse, but please do not belittle the struggle I'm going through by saying something like "at least it's not [insert other disease]."

6. "I knew a girl who had that and she was fine."
Endometriosis targets every woman differently. The same diet doesn't work for everyone. The same treatments don't work for everyone. The same surgeries don't work for everyone. Everyone is different. I'm glad your friend was fine. She's very fortunate.

7. "You're so lucky, I'd love to take that many days off of work."
I live in constant fear that I am going to lose my job because of how many days I am unable to get out of bed and get to work. And those days that I miss are miserable because I'm sitting at home, taking medicine that I need a paycheck to afford, but not able to work for that paycheck. It's not a vacation. It's an anxiety ridden, terrible, painful situation. I would give anything to never call in sick again. Nothing about that is lucky.

8. "You just need a more positive attitude."
A positive attitude isn't going to detach endometrial adhesions from the sides of organs. A positive attitude isn't going to give an woman with endometriosis a sure chance at children. A positive attitude can be helpful for a person mentally, but after years of surgeries, procedures, medications, doctors appointments, and emergency room visits, sometimes it's really hard to keep that positive attitude. And that's okay. You're allowed to be sad and discouraged sometimes.

And my absolute least favorite....

8. "Yeah, I have cramps today too."
::insert screetching brakes sound here:: Endometriosis is not cramps. It's not even "bad cramps". It's chronic pain caused by internal bleeding and inflammation. There are two types of endometriosis pain : tolerable and intolerable. It can't be solved with over the counter medication or a heating pad. It's not the same thing as cramps. When they have an endometriosis flare up, most women are unable to move at all. Comparing that to cramps is incredibly degrading.

---

Again, I understand the people who said these things had good intentions and were just trying to provide help in some way, but these words cut more than they heal. 

So what should you say?

The next time you see a woman going through the pain of endometriosis, instead of telling her it could be worse or that she needs a better attitude, you can tell her you think she's a strong person, because she is.

Or instead of telling her that she looks good so she must feel well, you can tell her that you admire her ability to handle pain as gracefully as she is.

Instead of telling her she is lucky to be sick and you wish you could call-out too, you can tell her that you're sorry she had to miss work. You know that must suck. Or you can ask if there's anything she needs.

And there probably won't be anything! There's not a whole lot that anybody can do, she just has to wait it out. Better days will come. But your consideration and willingness to help will mean the world and will provide much more comfort than any other recommendation or "advice" you could give her.

For the endo girls : Did I leave out any that you've heard often? What would you rather have someone tell you instead?

To the rest of you, as always, thank you for reading and allowing yourself to be more informed.

Love and blessings to all of you. xoxo

----

Guest post written by Kelle from Yellow Paper Dress - thank you, Kelle!

images via Kelle

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December 11th, 2013

As women around the world we all, of course, experience life differently. But ask a woman to talk to you about her period, and you will find an instant connection. We at The Period Store love women and feel a sisterhood with women in the US and abroad. Perhaps this sisterhood is due to our history of struggle together, through women's suffrage to the women's liberation movement and on. Perhaps it is because of how our brains are hardwired. Regardless, this sisterhood and connectivity is one of the many reasons we have The Periodical and the "Periods Around the World" series in particular. We want to educate ourselves and others about how women experience and manage their periods in different cultures. 

Meet Maurina, a Period Store friend of ours living in Italy.

Periodical: How and when did you learn about periods?
Maurina: I learned of it just by reading an explicative book. I was 7. My mother had difficulties about saying anything. :)

P: Do you remember your first period? Were you prepared?
M: Yes and absolutely no! O_O I was in the middle school, during a break between lessons and I went to the bathroom. Well, seeing that something in my slip I felt like "oooook and now?????" My mother used to be a teacher in the same school but was in a trip with her students, so, I came outside and went to my friend Valentina, who already knew what to do. I remember I said "I have a little problem" and she said "Got it. Come with me". She was my hero!

How has period management in Italy changed over time?

M: I think the only thing changed is the tampons. That's it. There's still a sort of difficulty about talking about periods. It's something to hide and not tell anyone about.

P: Any cultural taboos related to periods in Italy?

M: The taboos have mostly disappeared but in the past people said that: women on their period couldn't touch nor water plants, they could die; not to paint or cut hair; don't prepare any food with yeast, the cakes or whatever couldn't rise; never kiss a baby (it's ok for the mother) 'cause this could cause a huge disease for the baby.
 
P: The Period Store is all about celebrating womanhood. In what ways does Italy celebrate womanhood?
M: Well, we celebrate International Woman Day, in March, the 8th. This is a civil holiday, we celebrate being a woman and talk about the women situation in our country, historically and politically. I know it started in USA but every country has some difference. In Italy, every man must offer to any woman he wants to, a mimosa, flower symbolic for this celebration which blossom that month.

The holiday remembers the acts of the first working class women who died in a factory, in 1908 in USA. We use that day to remember every accomplishment women have made in our country. Is an important holiday to us, it's the day when women have parties, conferences and so on, just for them. Is something like "best wishes for being a wonderful and strong woman"!

--Would you like to tell us about periods where you're from?  Send us an e-mail info[at]theperiodstore.com

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December 9th, 2013

One of our favorite things to do when temperatures drop is drink a cup of really good hot chocolate. Since it seems like winter has arrived in full swing in most parts of the US and Canada, we decided to include exactly that in our packages this month. We've partnered with Ticket Chocolate to bring you hot chocolate on a stick. Trust us, it's delicious. Get to know the Ticket Chocolate brand a little better in our interview below:

Periodical: Tell us about yourself.  Where are you located and what's your story?
Ticket Chocolate: I spent the first years of my life in a ridiculously picturesque part of Venezuela with a family of European immigrants. I was in a family of chocolate lovers, living among the world’s most revered cacao. And yes, that started me on the track to a lifelong chocolate obsession,  er, interest. After a few years of pouring melted chocolate into my milk, I started trying something different, putting my favorite blends of couverture chocolate as a block on the end of a stick, then swirling it into hot milk. There was something about the moments of stirring that just made the experience for me. Plus it created some unreal hot chocolate. So I started making hot chocolate on a stick for friends and family, and soon after Ticket Chocolate was born.

Our hot chocolate is hand made in San Francisco and our headquarters are in Loomis, CA (just outside Roseville/Sacramento).


P: Tell us what you think about periods.
T: Just a little something to add to the feminine mystic.

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?

T: Oooh, ooh, I'm so glad you asked. I totally had this conversation with my sister on the phone last week. Drinking our hot chocolate is kind of like a good long soak in the tub or a long hot shower, something about it, as you dunk your chocolate into your mug of steaming milk, and you stir, and you lick the melting chocolate, then stir some more, and sip, your mind kind of just unwinds. Seriously. You get the best ideas, ya, like in the shower, and while your chocolate melts away, so does the stress. Oh, and of course there are all those clinical studies that chocolate unwinds anxiety. It's a good thing. We need to have these moments for ourselves, girls.

--
Thank you Ticket Chocolate! Keep up with them on twitter and facebook.

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December 3rd, 2013

Who doesn't enjoy a little Holiday shopping? If you're like us and still haven't bought all your gifts this season then this gift guide is for you.

Include a Period Store Heat Pack (1) for anyone who needs a little extra comfort this season. A travel size aromatherapy spray (3) or candle (4) would make a great stocking stuffer. An Ideal Woman necklace (2) for someone who likes a little sparkle. Everyone could use a "Go With the Flow" tote bag (4). Don't forget to add a pair of underthings for yourself with Dear Kate (7) and Box Intimates Wipes (6).

We're shipping our packages out a little earlier this month to make sure they are delivered before Christmas and New Years. Log in and update your package before the 12th to get your package by the 24th. A little post-Holiday gift won't hurt anyone either though. ;)

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Period Store!

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December 2nd, 2013

The Period Store loves the movie Frances Ha. We may have a soft spot in our hearts for this because we're fans of Greta Gerwig (check out her interview on Rookie Mag). It could also be the fact that it shows a New York we know and love, or the fact that the movie is in black and white. And you can't forget the dancing. Have you seen Frances Ha? What did you think of it?

p.s. it's currently streaming on Netflix.

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November 27th, 2013


Menstrupedia is a website run by a group trying to change the way menstruation is looked at and taught in India and around the world. What started out as a study on menstruation in Indian society evolved to a comic that explains menstruation, and later to what Menstrupedia is today. Through their comic and curriculum, Menstrupedia has taught young girls in schools throughout India how to stay healthy and active during their period and has received a very positive response from girls, parents, and teachers alike.

The Beauty of Red is a video they created with Mypromovideos which talks about the issues surrounding menstruation in India, but it can also be applied to other societies around the world. I love this quote from their website:

"We believe that the topic doesn’t just have to do with females but humanity as a whole. When women use unhygienic rags and get infected, when girls feel ashamed and drop out of school, when a section of society prevents women from worshiping just because they are menstruating, when girls get married off because puberty means they are now old enough to bear children…when this and many, many other outdated, ill-informed practices continue to plague our system, then the issue becomes the whole society’s issue. We simply cannot label it as women’s issue."

Watch the video and tell us your thoughts in the comments. Read a Periods Around the World in India here


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November 25th, 2013

“I was ten years old. I had noticed something was weird earlier in the day but I knew from commercials that one's menstrual period was a blue liquid that you poured like laundry detergent onto maxi pads to test their absorbency. This wasn't blue so...I ignored it for a few hours." - Tina Fey, Bossypants

image source
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November 22nd, 2013

One of the goals of The Period Store is to give you an easy way to shop for all the different period products that are in the market. We are always excited when we introduce another product into our shop and are especially exited to now have a second brand of 100% organic cotton tampons available. Alongside Natracare, we have now added True Moon 100% organic cotton tampons to our shop.

True Moon tampons are made from 100% organic, GMO-free cotton and the rounded-tip, cardboard applicator is biodegradable. TrueMoon products are free of rayon, bleach, dioxins and shame. Their mission is: to promote a healthier body AND attitude – to inspire every girl and woman to feel proud of her natural, powerful cycle and take control of her health.

To celebrate this new product addition to our shop, we are giving away a True Moon Starter Kit!

Starter Kit Includes:

- 16ct. organic tampons
- The Essential Guide book
-  Dry erase moon cycle chart with pen
-  Signature carrying case for tampons and more
-  Unique code for a personal keepsake
-  Info for celeb designed jewelry

To Enter:

- Follow the instructions in the widget bellow.

You have FOUR chances to enter so good luck!

The winner will be chosen at random at 12:00am on November 30th and contacted via email by Dec. 1st.

*The Period Store and Rafflecounter won't use your email address for any reason but to contact the winner of the giveaway and to keep track of the number of times you entered.
This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only.

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November 20th, 2013

We've partnered with Underland NY to bring you a new music playlist curated exclusively for The Period Store customers and followers every month. Have you downloaded your November music playlist yet? Listen to Smooth curated by Underland here.

Underland only works with independent artists, so much of the music you’re going to hear is completely new and off the radar. We encourage you to explore the bands you like and appreciate any feedback you may have (love notes to bands are always appreciated). Happy menstruating!

Special thanks to Underland and all of the wonderful musicians featured in this months playlist. Check them out below.

Jeanette Berry and The Soul Nerds, Billy Rock, Camille Harris, D>tOUr, Love Science Music, Andrew Hammond

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November 18th, 2013
We have partnered with The ( • ) Project and will be sharing one story every other month on our blog The Periodical. See past stories here.

The ( • ) Project is a tumblr devoted to first period stories of 300 words or less (fiction and nonfiction) written by individuals of any gender or age. The stories are short enough to make you click through all of their archives without giving it a second thought.

Submit your own first period story to The Period Project by emailing it to theperiodprojectblog@gmail.com. Your story can be fiction or nonfiction — 300 words or less— of first periods, written by individuals of any gender or age.

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November 13th, 2013

If you live in New York City, you’ve probably walked by a mikveh hundreds of times without knowing it. These discreet buildings are at the heart of the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish communities; they’re so important, in fact, that they’re required to be built before synagogues. The mikveh, at the center of Jewish laws concerning sexuality and menstruation, is a ritual bath and a complicated collision of feminism and tradition.

During the time of niddah (when a woman is menstruating), couples are forbidden from engaging in any type of sexual activity. They can’t sleep in the same bed, hold hands, or even pass objects to one another. Once a woman—specifically a married woman—has stopped her period, she counts seven successive days without any more blood. (She knows she has not bled, by the way, because she checks herself twice a day with white cloths.)

The woman must then go to the mikveh to cleanse herself. The mikveh is a tub filled with warm, chest-high water, and there is a small hole within the tub that filters in collected rain water. It’s a ritual bath meant to spiritually purify and not physically cleanse; on that end, the woman is required to thoroughly clean herself before partaking in the custom. She is asked to remove all makeup, polish and jewelry, brush her teeth and hair, clip her nails, and tweeze any stray hairs on her body. The idea, here, is that nothing should come between the woman and the mikveh water. Once she is ready, she says a prayer and immerses herself in the tub for a brief second; she may then resume sexual relations with her husband.

I should clarify that a mikveh can be (and once commonly was) used by men. Hasidic and Orthodox men still typically visit the mikveh prior to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and both sexes immerse themselves during conversion to Judaism. Men, however, are not considered to be cyclically impure and in need of the mikveh in the same way.

So, why all this mishegas over a few tablespoons of blood? In Orthodoxy, menstruating women are considered to be spiritually impure, which is partially why there is such strict segregation between the sexes in very frum (religious) groups. Every period is considered to be a whisper of death—a sign, in a way, that potential life was lost (an uncomfortable bit of pro-life rhetoric and an odd conflation of miscarriage and menstruation). Menstruant women are thus thought to be spiritual pollutants, the mikveh being the only way to return them to cleanliness.

Some people might find this practice problematic for several reasons. To start with, it implies that women are spiritually and physically less than, and is another example of the ways in which society conditions women to be ashamed of their period. It's also essentialist, in that it draws boundaries around who is considered to be a woman. The mikveh is a defining and important act for an Orthodox woman—to be left out of it almost implies that she isn’t a woman. Only married, menstruant women can partake in the practice, so it leaves out amenhorreic women (menopausal and post-menopausal women do not have to participate in the ritual). There is, too, a disturbing sense of heteronormativity in the tradition, which overlooks what role trans and queer women play in Judaism, as well as infers that traditional marriage is the only true relationship.

The tradition—in dictating when a woman can be sexual and centering her sexuality on when she is clean enough for her husband—diminishes physical agency and reduces women to wives and wives to vessels of reproduction. Ovulation typically coincides with the first day women are able to have sex again in this timeline, and the scheduling is too convenient to be a coincidence.

The mikveh also caters unfairly to Ashkenazi women (Jews of European descent) and may disenfranchise Jewish women of color. Since you’re required to completely brush out your hair before going into the bath, dreadlocks, braids and weaves are forbidden. Non-Ashkenazi Jews may feel forced to choose one identity over another.

I was raised in the Jewish Reconstructionist community, a progressive movement that welcomes queer members and supports feminist ideals. When I was a graduate student researching the mikveh for my thesis, I did a lot of furious underlining in my reading, and my contact lenses almost came loose from my eye rolling. I couldn’t reconcile the welcoming religion I grew up in with the misogynistic practices I was reading about. There was a lot I overlooked in Orthodoxy’s support of the tradition, though: that many women take pride in going to the mikveh and see it as a transformative, spiritual experience, and that women may find comfort by connecting with their mothers and daughters through a religious tradition. I failed, at first, to understand how the mikveh can almost be placed within a radical feminist framework: consider how it is a specifically feminine tradition for which there is no real masculine equivalent. It is, in some ways, not dissimilar to same-sex education, in that it gives women a safe, supportive space to learn about themselves.

So, while it took me time to find the feminist action within a sexist tradition, many Jewish feminists had already found it. In Boston, there is a wonderful community center/mikveh, Mayyim Hayyim, that opens its doors to all Jewish women--Orthodox or not, trans, queer, single, pre-menstrual, post-menstrual, and women recovering from illness or addiction. You can still use the mikveh in the traditional way there, but Mayyim Hayyim views the practice as an all-encompassing healing act and encourages women to use it as a source of empowerment on their own terms. Modern mikvehs, like Mayyim Hayyim, create pro-women spaces where menstruation is not surrounded in shame or secrecy, and where women at all stages of their reproductive lives are given room to connect to their religious customs. They’re changing the way women engage with the practice, and are doing amazing work in respecting tradition while also embracing progressive attitudes.

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Guest blogger Molly Labell is Boston-based and pro-period. She writes freelance to support her dream of temping.See what she's up to here.

Collage by Ashley Seil Smith.
TAGS: CLEANSING, JUDAISM, MIKVEH cache cache


November 11th, 2013

Gothamist recently posted a list compiled from a Reddit thread with the best public bathroom spots in NYC. You can see the original Reddit list here. New Yorkers, and anyone traveling to NY, you're going to want to bookmark that. We already did.

We've all had those moments when our light flow turned out to be a heavy flow and we need to change our pad, empty out our menstrual cup, or maybe make an emergency tampon change and there is no bathroom to be found. You never think about free public bathrooms until you need one, and suddenly that's the only thing you can think of.

Although the original Reddit list is only about NYC, a lot of it can be related to the rest of the US and Canada. Below is our list of where you can find clean public bathrooms in the US and Canada, please add your suggestions in the comments.

Barnes & Noble or other large bookstores: Cleaner than Starbucks, almost everywhere in the US.

Nordstrom, Hudsons Bay and other nice department stores: Much nicer bathrooms than other retail stores, sometimes there is a nice sitting area.

Hotels: Large upscale hotels usually have so many guests that they don't think twice about someone walking in and using the bathroom. Just walk in like you belong there. 

Large Chain Restaurants: Think a step above fast-food. The type of place that would have someone cleaning their bathroom every hour or so but isn't super selective about who gets past the hostess (or maybe doesn't have a hostess). Again, act like you belong.

photo: Madonna Inn, Oak Leaves by Allie Pohl. Buy an Ideal Woman necklace in our shop.

TAGS: BATHROOMS cache cache


November 8th, 2013

We were first smitten by Antidote Chocolate's genius packaging, and when we opened up our first bar, it did not disappoint. Plus, we can get behind anyone that says chocolate can be good for you, and Antidote dedicates an entire section of their (beautiful) website to the health benefits of chocolate. We're sold. Read more about the story behind this cycle's chocolate bar, which also happens to be certified organic, vegan, and gluten free.

Periodical: Tell us about yourself. Where are you located and what's your story?

Antidote Chocolate: My text: "Sorry, I've been poisonous today." His text: "Don’t worry. I make an Antidote for you”

Wow what could that be? I was thinking of an Antidote to the blues and emotional challenges for women. My mind couldn’t stop thinking what the answer and Antidote could be.

Next morning I woke up and I laughed, what if chocolate WAS the antidote?  I decided to make it so, to create the chocolate cure for life's insufferable moments.  One that was not only deliciously satisfying in a time of need, but also with long-lasting health benefits. Not just chocolate, but a POWER chocolate.  The equivalent of Popeye's spinach.

I'm originally from Austria, moved to NY 13 years ago and we are located in Brooklyn NY though I travel to Ecuador for production periods as we produce Antidote from bean to bar in Ecuador with finest "arriba nacional" cacao beans.

P: Tell us what you think about periods.

A: It's great to live through cycles and periods. And now you have Antidote to get you through it happily.

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?

A: I made Antidote specifically with women in mind - to have a cure for those blues and emotional roller coasters. They will be thrilled to choose from our range of Antidote. For more info look at: www.antidotechoco.com


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Thank you Antidote! Keep up with them on twitter and facebook.

TAGS: ANTIDOTE CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, GLUTEN FREE, ORGANIC, VEGAN cache cache


November 6th, 2013

We designed this bag for our Girl Rising screening in NYC on International Day of the Girl in 2013. We are now selling the tote in our store to give those who couldn't make it to the screening a way to join us in supporting girls' education every day of the year. All of the profits of each Girl Rising tote bag will be donated to the Girl Rising Fund for Girls' Education.

Check out all our tote bags in the Accessories section of the "Fill Your Package" page and check the "next package only" to include it in your next period package.

TAGS: GIRL RISING, TOTE BAG cache cache


November 4th, 2013

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

Jen Lewis is an emerging conceptual artist from Michigan whose debut art project, Beauty in Blood, addresses the social taboo surrounding menstruation through the lens of abstract photography. Her work is heavily influenced by bioartography, feminism, and art history more broadly. Beauty in Blood is jointly produced with the assistance of her husband and artistic partner Rob Lewis.

The Period Store: How's your period?

Jennifer Lowe Lewis: I have to say, I’m very fortunate to have an easy period – minimal pain and suffering as well as short, relatively light flow days. Now that I have this art project going on, I could actually use a heavier, longer flow because we need more material to test new techniques and further develop the concept. …never thought I would say such a thing about my period! In fact, it feels a little weird to want my period, like I’m breaking some unwritten girl-code about menstruation by enjoying my period and having a positive experience with it because we so rarely see this side of menstruation in pop culture. 

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for The Period Store.

JLL: Dragon #1 is one of our earliest pieces, from December 2012, and is both a fan and personal favorite. I really love the representational figure that showed up during the film review process; I definitely did not see a dragon forming in the bowl while I was pouring the blood or while we were photographing. The detail in the neck area is incredible and gets me excited every time I look at it - those long, sinewy lines that twist this way and that, almost like real muscle tissue. 

Some sources say that Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricanes, and floods[1]…Mother Nature’s other flows. Given that, it seemed very appropriate for The Period Store packages.

TPS: What got you started in bioartography?  

JLL: Because I work in an academic research laboratory, I’m exposed to bioart as décor and design elements throughout the biomedical research buildings daily. When I started using a menstrual cup, I think it was very natural that my brain would see abstract art in the toilet bowl with the poured blood because of my prior exposure to biological substances as subject matter. Magnified blood cells, and even bacteria growth, made for great art so why not whole blood? And why should menstrual blood be any more objectionable than other blood? The idea to capture what I was seeing in the bathroom came pretty quickly after switching to the cup and I feel confident in attributing that to working in an environment where people regularly observe biological substances as art. It gave me encouragement to cross the line with more mainstream audiences. I realized that I could use a more scientific presentation/approach to bridge a larger feminist-oriented discussion about the social narrative behind menstruation. Suddenly, my monthly visitor ceased being a gross curse and became a monthly art-making event. I’m not sure I would have made the connection between blood and art without my exposure to bioart in the laboratory. 

TPS: How do you think being a woman influences your work? 

JLL: Considering my work is completely based on the physical act of menstruating, a uniquely female life experience, being a woman significantly influences my art. The literal act of emptying my menstrual cup turned into this unexpectedly beautiful and fun activity that I felt compelled to share with others. What I was seeing was truly interesting; surely other people could join me in appreciating the art made from the fluid dynamics between blood and water.

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Thanks, Jen! You can find Beauty in Blood on Twitter @BeautyinBloodUSAre you an artist with work you'd like to submit to The Period Store?  Send us an e-mail at info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: BIOARTOGRAPHY, BLOOD, JENNIFER LOWE LEWIS cache cache


November 1st, 2013

PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is a severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) that affects between 2-5% of women.  This disorder is commonly misdiagnosed as depression or bipolar disorder by OB/GYN's, primary care doctors, and even psychologists and psychiatrists. Many of the symptoms are similar, but if your period brings about a serious depression each month, you might consider seeing a doctor for PMDD.  While medication can be used to treat PMDD, many women are able to naturally treat symptoms by getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy and keeping close family or friends around for support during those difficult weeks.

Do you or anyone you know have PMDD? How do you treat it? Medicine, aromatherapy, or diet? We would love to know.

TAGS: PMDD, PMS, SYMPTOMS cache cache


October 30th, 2013

As women around the world we all, of course, experience life differently. But ask a woman to talk to you about her period, and you will find an instant connection. We at The Period Store love women and feel a sisterhood with women in the US and abroad. Perhaps this sisterhood is due to our history of struggle together, through women's suffrage to the women's liberation movement and on. Perhaps it is because of how our brains are hardwired. Regardless, this sisterhood and connectivity is one of the many reasons we have The Periodical and the "Periods Around the World" series in particular. We want to educate ourselves and others about how women experience and manage their periods in different cultures. 

Meet Mildred from Paris, France. Mildred is the artist and designer behind the quirky French brand, Girls Have Periods. We carry one of her totes our shop! Her instagram accounts is one of our favorites, be sure to follow her as @girlshaveperiods. Thank you for being a part of this series Mildred! Bisous!

Periodical: How and when did you learn about periods?
Mildred: Around the age of nine. My mother and my grandmother told me about it. They were talking about them between themselves too. I quickly realized that every month something "special" was also feared expected.

P: Do you remember your first period? Were you prepared?
M: I was totally prepared. However, I did not think it would happen to me so quickly. I got my period when I was almost 11 years old. My pretty white nightdress was stained one morning. It was summer. My grandmother told me: "You're a woman now." With hindsight I realize the significance of this sentence. What mental images piggyback on the word woman? Before and after our periods, what are we? GIRLS?

How has period management in France changed over time?
M: In the 20s, women were making pads with terrycloth towels. In 1930, they went to the lingerie department to buy strips of cloth  with a folded sponge inside attached to rubber bands. They boiled them in bleach to wash them. Towels that caused irritation even emerged. Tampons appeared in the 1960s. Today we search this quasi-cultural product in the hygienic section. We are Green, we use cups or hand-stitched cloth pads with beautiful printed fabric. We are girly - we buy Nanas (French brand of pads) stamped with Christian Lacroix logos. It's almost a fashion accessory, an added level of our identity.

P: Any cultural taboos related to periods in France?
M: To my knowledge, no. I would say that we talk about it more and more. Advertisements tend to highlight the freedom of women. "I have my period but I do sports," "I have my period but I'm wearing a tight white dress." The first message is assertiveness. Yes, have my period and? The second message is emotional stability. I have my period but I do not make a something of it.
 
P: The Period Store is all about celebrating womanhood. In what ways does France celebrate womanhood?
M: France happily glorifies the aesthetic aspects of womanhood. Womanhood in general, not so much. The French woman oftentimes finds herself with her head against the glass ceiling, but has a hard time getting past it. It took a long time for her to get the right to vote, the freedom to leave France alone (lol...). Nonetheless, she's the true ambassador of France's specialties: fashion, perfume... What would the luxury industry be without French women? In France, women are celebrated essentially for aesthetic reasons. Maybe cultural. Not so much societal.

--Would you like to tell us about periods where you're from?  Send us an e-mail info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: FRANCE, GIRLS HAVE PERIODS, PARIS cache cache


October 28th, 2013

Have you tasted the chocolate bar included in this cycle's period kit? The team here at The Period Store was craving an orange-flavored chocolate for fall and we couldn't have been more excited when we tasted Chuao Chocolatier's Orange-a-go-go bar. Several of you have tweeted to us about how much you love it too which makes us so happy! Get to know the story behind the Chuao Chocolatier with our interview below:

Periodical: Tell us about yourself. Where are you located and what's your story?
Chuao Chocolatier: Chuao Chocolatier was founded on the idea that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. In his 30’s, Chef Michael left a successful tech career in Venezuela to follow his passion for food…. all the way to culinary school in Paris. From there, he moved his wife and daughters to San Diego, where he went to college, to start a gourmet chocolate shop with his brother. Since 2002, Chuao Chocolatier has been on a mission to spread joy to the world through delicious chocolate experiences that arouse the senses. And Chef Michael’s gourmet goodies, handcrafted with ethically sourced cacao and all natural ingredients, do just that!

P: Tell us what you think about periods.
CC: We like to consider them a prescription for 5-7 days of chocolate consumption. Get it, girl!

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?
CC: Periods call for comfort- blankets, heating pads, chick flicks and…. CHOCOLATE. Luckily, Chef Michael, has mastered the last one. With culinary driven chocolates like Potato Chip, Orange-A-Go-Go, Maple Bacon and Salted Chocolate Crunch, you can’t go wrong. Treat yourself!

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Thank you Chuao Chocolatier! Tell us what you think of this cycles chocolate on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

TAGS: CHOCOLATE cache cache


October 23rd, 2013


The Period Store sends out two packets of tea in every period subscription box because we feel like a good cup of tea can really make your day just a little better. We currently carry Yogi tea, Earth Mama Angel Baby, and Pacific Herbs PMS relief , and we're always looking for new brands to try.

I personally was never a big tea drinker until just recently, and now I'm fascinated with tea culture. I did a little research with my English friends from "across the pond" and asked them "how to make a PROPER cup of tea". Here's what I learned:

1. Boil water in a tea kettle. Preferably one with multiple holes in it. Microwaving water is taboo!

2. Pour the boiled water in a tea pot (or your tea cup), let it sit for a minute and then pour it back in the tea kettle. This "warms" your tea pot or cup and is very important. (this was news to me!)

3. Bring the water to a boil again in your tea kettle.

4. Put the tea bag or bags in your tea pot or cup and when your water is boiling pour the water on top of the bag.

5. Let the tea bag sit in the teapot or cup for 3-5 minutes (depending on how strong you want it) and then remove the bag. If you're using a teapot, you now pour it into your tea cup.

6. Adding milk, honey, and sugar. I got mixed feedback about when to add milk. Some are adamant that you should pour milk before adding water and others say you should let the tea brew with water before adding milk. Your call. Honey and sugar are added after your tea has brewed.

*Tea cosy. I always wondered about these! They are so cute and you keep them on your tea pot to keep your tea warm because ew, nobody likes cold tea (unless it's iced tea which is a whole other story). If you're using loose tea then the steps are the same but you will need a tea strainer for your pot or cup.

Image sources: tea kettle, tea pot, tea cup.

TAGS: HOW TO, TEA cache cache


October 21st, 2013


Was your first time using a tampon as awkward an experience as this girl scouts'? My older sister gave me cryptic directions that helped me figure it out. How did you learn to use a tampon? Did anyone help you?

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Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store living in Paris, France.

TAGS: TAMPON cache cache


October 18th, 2013

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

This cycle's piece was created by Eliza Stein, a freelance illustrator based in New York City. You can see her portfolio at elizastein.com, buy her artwork at elizasteindesigns.etsy.com, and read her thoughts at @MsElizaStein on Twitter.  See our interview with Eliza below!

The Period Store: How's your period?

Eliza Stein: First of all, I truly appreciate the chance to complain about my period publicly! I wish I could be someone who doesn't think much about my period, or romanticizes and celebrates it, but it has a bad effect on my life. It's a pretty big source of physical and emotional pain for me each month. I am always looking for little remedies to distract myself from it. For example, popsicles made from ginger ale are great for when I have trouble eating.

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for this month's period package.

ES: PMS Man was this silly cartoon character I created back in college. I decided to take the sketches out of storage and give him the full-color treatment, because PMS deserves its own supervillain (but I drew him as more of an antihero then- less angry, more angsty.)

TPS: How does being a woman influence your work?

ES: I'm sure it does, unconsciously. Usually I'm working on an assignment, so I'm looking at an idea through someone else's eyes and my own. I don't like thinking of gender very much while I'm at work, because in my mind it always leads to some kind of label.

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Thanks, ElizaAre you an artist with work you'd like to submit to The Period Store?  Send us an e-mail at info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: ART, COMIC, ILLUSTRATION, PMS cache cache


October 16th, 2013

Hello menses.  This morning as you made your brash departure, I arranged some space in my life for your impending move and somewhere deep in this tender heart of mine, I stirred up my fragile hope that after this visit we won't meet again for quite some time.  I have accepted your timely and jarring manifestations these long years as you have reminded me bluntly of the emptiness that's inside me.  As you clear out each month, taking the frayed edges of my hope with you, I try to remind myself that you leave in peace.  Though you don't intend to antagonize, frustrate or demean me, your regular, uncomfortable appearances usually leave me feeling slightly taunted and depleted, both body and soul.  I know many people welcome you for the very reasons that I nurse a broken heart each time you come my way.  I tell myself with great regularity, to expect you, to find myself surprised if by some great miracle, you happen to stay put for a time.  

But somewhere in me is a mother who just won't give up.  So I hope, ever so frequently, that changes are happening and that you are being stretched in different ways and that you'll be busy for a while and so immersed in your work that you will find it hard to leave.   Sometimes my hope is buoyant, strong and sure, confident that I am different in some small way and that this time you will stay out of sight.  Sometimes my hope feigns indifference and pretends that it doesn't even know when you're scheduled to show yourself.  Sometimes my hope is angry, and vitriol flies as soon as you even hint that you're on your way.  And sometimes my hope is tired, weighed down by disappointment and helplessness and barely raises it's head to acknowledge your movement.   And yet, after each departure, I eventually manage to gather what's left of my hope and no matter what sorry shape it's in, I dust it off, check it for new scratches or bruises and gently settle it back in my heart where it belongs.

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Guest blogger Lindsay Miller is a Texas native with a background in childhood development.  Photo proudly taken by her four-year-old.

Waiting Schiele/Darger Collage by Ashley Seil Smith.

TAGS: INFERTILITY, PREGNANCY, WAITING cache cache


October 14th, 2013

                       


"Period - No Period! What's the deal?" We have a new tote bag in our shop from our chic Parisian friend Girls Have Periods.

Just like The Period Store - Girls Have Periods was founded in April of 2013 which we take as a sign that we were destined BFF's. I met the founder Mildred Simantov in Paris and we bonded over periods and girltalk so, naturally a collaboration was born.

Remember what time of the month it is with your hashtag and our first Girls Have Periods product. This limited edition tote is 100% bio (that means organic in French) and is screen printed in black and pink ink with the text "#period #noperiod".

Add a tote to your next period package by clicking on "Accessories" and choose "next package only". Et voila!

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Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store living in Paris, France.

TAGS: TOTE BAG cache cache


October 11th, 2013

Just over two decades after women received the right to vote, psychologist William Moulton Marston created the character Wonder Woman.  Marston's 1942 creation served as an archetype for the modern, liberated female.  The comic industry, while hit hard by the Great Depression, was still alive and well during this time and DC Comics needed a strong female character for its female readership.  Wonder Woman fought head-to-head with villains while her alter ego, Diana Prince, was just as successful in her personal life and career.  Certainly a figure any woman might aspire to.  Of course, with her short skirts, frequent tie-ups, and eventual movie adaptation it's anyone's guess what audience she was really catering to, but the intention was there. 

 

Often included in the Wonder Woman comic series were backup stories featuring prominent women in history.  The "Wonder Women of History" series became a frequent and much-loved addition to the Wonder Woman comic books.  We'll include occasional reviews of the "Wonder Women of History" here, starting first with Ellen Swallow Richards.

Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first woman to obtain a degree in chemistry and the first woman to instruct at MIT later.  She contributed to the field of sanitary chemistry and became one of the founding members of The American Association of University Women. Richards had interesting views of what it meant to be a feminist and found the role of domesticity, along with connecting to the environment and being socially aware, all part of the feminist equation.

This just leaves us with two questions - 1) Who knew you could learn so much from comics? And 2) What did Wonder Woman do on her period?  

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

Image via Comicvine

TAGS: COMICS, FEMINIST, MOVIES, WONDER WOMAN cache cache


October 9th, 2013

Petra Collins has been on my radar ever since I first saw her photography in Rookie Magazine. She's the founder and curator of The Ardorous - an all-female art collective based out of Toronto, Canada (a city we're dying to visit!). Earlier this year, she and Sonja Ahlers co-curated a group show entitled Period Piece: The Gynolandscape which I admired from afar via Field Guided's images. She is part of a wonderful group of talented young feminist artists that I admire because not only are they incredibly talented, but they also seem to have no fear holding them back from making something of themselves. 

Most recently, Petra's art collective The Ardorous designed several tee-shirts in collaboration with American Apparel. They have caused a bit of controversy, especially the design below, which is a line drawing of a woman's hand touching her vagina while menstruating.

She did an interview with VICE magazine about the tee-shirt and all the controversy behind it. Below are a couple of my favorite excerpts from the interview:

"Menstruation—and also pubic hair—really freaks people out. There’s pubic hair in the drawing, which I guess is super shocking to people, even though I cannot get over that. I feel like I’m so sheltered in a way. I always forget that people are so close-minded.

Grown women are taught to repress their postpubescent body or hide it. When you start puberty and you start growing hair you’re taught to shave it, because no one’s supposed to see it. With your period, it’s something that you conceal—no one’s supposed to know." - Petra Collins to VICE

as well as this question Patrick from VICE asks Petra:

"Clearly, you’re exposing people with this shirt, because anyone who’s offended only has one thing to say: “It’s gross.” But why is it gross? Are people just afraid of vaginas? Is that what it is?" - Patrick from VICE

What do you think? Why are people so upset over this image on a tee-shirt? Are people just afraid of vaginas like Patrick says? I think so. How many of you have taken a mirror to your own vaginas and really seen what's down there like Moontime Rising suggests we do? Why is it gross? And even if you don't agree with this - why do people feel the need to attack others (sometimes on a personal level) for being more willing to talk openly about something as natural as a vagina?

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Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store living in Paris, France.

TAGS: BLOOD, PUBIC HAIR, VAGINA cache cache


October 4th, 2013

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

This cycle's piece was created by Kimberly Ellen Hall - an artist and designer from Massachusetts. With freckles.  And wicked cramps. Below is a short interview with Kimberly so you can get to know her and her beautiful work a little better!


The Period Store:  Tell us about yourself.

Kimberly Ellen Hall: I'm an illustrator & designer living in Philly and working in New York. I have 2 little girls, a website, and a husband and we are thinking about getting bird. I also put up wallpaper in our house (yes, it was a big accomplishment). I love collecting junk, riding the train, exploring new people and places, and of course, drawing. I also run a little shop where I sell vintage clothes and accessories by illustration only. 

TPS: How's your period?

KEH: You know, no one really tells you how different your period can become after you have kids! OR how when you have two little girls and you never get to go to the bathroom by yourself how to explain a period to them….my 4 year old calls it "doing red" Ah, children have such a way with words!

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for this month's period package.

KEH: Well, I've been drawing lots of flowers and odd things I collect and I thought I would like to find a way to send a bouquet of flowers because that would be really nice to get when you have your period. I also have been working on hand lettering this fall, so I wanted to add some words. I just sort of riffed around with the parrot and pirates and boats…I love to write little headlines and stuff. Years ago I worked as a freelance designer at the New York Post and I was always trying to sneak in my own headlines. Usually the copyeditors caught me, but I got a few kooky ones in there!

TPS: How do you think being a woman influences your work?

KEH: I find this to be a tough question, I mean I've only ever been a woman so it is sort of at the core of my identity and being, right?…..how would my work be different if I were a man? I'm not sure. Would I draw phallic vegetables instead of flowers? Perhaps….I'm sure you can tell I was almost a philosophy major before I went for my BFA! Thanks so much for having me….love what you guys are doing!

p.s. "I don't smoke!"

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Thanks, Kimberly!  You can view Kimberly's website here, her etsy store here and find her on twitter @nottene_kim.  Are you an artist with work you'd like to submit to The Period Store?  Send us an e-mail at info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: ILLUSTRATION, PMS cache cache


October 1st, 2013

We're celebrating our Dear Kate and Ideal Woman launch collaboration with a giveaway!

6 lucky winners will win one of our prizes: a print of Allie Pohl's 'Hot Seat' at the Madonna Inn or a pair of Dear Kate underwear.

To Enter:

- Follow the instructions in the widget below.

You have FOUR chances to enter, so good luck!


The winner will be chosen at random at 12:00am on Oct 9th.

*The Period Store and Rafflecounter won't use your email address for any reason but to contact the winner of the giveaway and to keep track of the number of times you entered.

Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.
TAGS: GIVEAWAY cache cache


September 30th, 2013

The Period Store is now carrying Dear Kate underwear and Ideal Woman by Allie Pohl necklaces.

Allie Pohl is an artist whose works question what it means to be a "perfect woman" and Julie is the chemical engineer behind Dear Kate, a brand of eco-friendly, leak-resistant underwear. An introduction from The Period Store led to the above image.  A collaboration in which they brought both of their works together for one of Allie Pohl's "Hot Seat" images. "Hot Seat" is a series in which Allie photographs her underwear while going to the bathroom in iconic Los Angeles locations.

Allie says the series was inspired by "thinking about rituals that we do everyday but we don't necessarily think about or concentrate on. 'Hot Seat' gives the viewer a glimpse into one of a woman's most personal acts while still humanizing it." In this collaboration with The Period Store and Dear Kate underwear, Allie photographed herself wearing Dear Kates at the Madonna Inn.

We think it's the perfect introduction to both of their brands, which we are very excited to be carrying in our shop now. Below is an interview with Allie and Julie so you can get to know them a little better.

1. Tell us about yourself?

Allie Pohl: I am a Venice (Los Angeles) based multi-medium artist.  I created a symbol/logo titled “Ideal Woman”, which is based off of the toy, "Barbie". The logo is digitally enhanced to the ideal female measurements (an American social construct) of 36-24-36. The symbol, which serves as a kind of avatar, is a form that is repeated throughout my work. It is an agent for change: to question the social constructs of perfection. 

Julie - Dear Kate: I grew up in a rural town in KY, got my period at 11 years old, and now live in NYC. I've always been interested in fashion, and growing up in a household with a working Mom and stay-at-home Dad, identified early on as a feminist. It was a perfect fit when the opportunity arose in college to run a fashion + function startup and change the game for women on the underwear front. 

2. How's your period?

Allie Pohl: Pre-birth control, my period was very consistent and punctual. One week before my period was coming, I would always get a pimple!  Since I have been on the pill, I don't get my period (or the pimple) very often. 

Julie - Dear Kate: I have the Mirena IUD so my period is extremely light, however, totally unpredictable.

3. Both of your work and products open up topics that women don't necessarily feel comfortable talking about. The unattainable ideals women hold themselves up to and the sometimes messy transformations our bodies naturally go through. What inspired you to start this conversation?

Allie Pohl: How can we NOT talk about these things?!  We are women;  it happens to each and every one of us, but yet we are trained to think we are supposed to be hairless, odorless, and perfectly in place at all times. 

Julie - Dear Kate: In college there were 3 girls (and 1 guy) in our entrepreneurship team when we wrote the original business plan for the underwear line. The girls in our group started talking and we realized that all of us had "period underwear" in the back of our drawer (aka granny panties), hand washed stained undies, and had a horror story from our periods. However, no one had ever had a conversation about it before and we started dreaming of what could be possible if we made the "perfect" pair of period underwear. I think there's power in unearthing the realities of menstruation because without real conversation we are stuck accepting the status quo.

4. How do you think being a woman influences your work?

Allie Pohl: It is the only perspective I know how to see things from!  "Ideal Woman" originated from a porcelain series I was making,  where I had chai growing out of areas where unwanted hair (leg, under-arm, crotch) grows on the "perfect woman".  In my new show, "Peacocking", opening at "Plus Gallery" in Denver this coming September 12th, I explore how men "market" themselves online, on apps, and in person.  I am only able to think about these things because I am a woman! 

Julie - Dear Kate: Being a woman has allowed me to have intimate conversations with other women about their periods and see beauty in the thing that unites us as women. At the end of the day, I love knowing that our product brightens our customer's mood and that we've got her back on a stressful day. I can put myself in her shoes because regardless of geographical location, language, or income level, we, as women, have experienced so many of the same feelings every single month.

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Go ahead an add an Allie Pohl necklace and a pair of underwear to your next package. Log into your account, go to the "Fill your Package" page and click "next package only" under the product you'd like to add. Tag #theperiodstore on Twitter and Instagram when you get your products in your next package!

TAGS: ART, INTERVIEW, JEWELERY, UNDERWEAR cache cache


September 27th, 2013

We're in love with Christopher Kane's SS14 collection "inspiration derived from the process of photosynthesis, to the inadequacy of high school sex education".  Flowers, sequins, femininity, reproductive systems and fashion. We can get into that. 

images via style.com

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Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store living in Paris, France.

TAGS: FASHION, FLOWERS, SEX EDUCATION cache cache


September 25th, 2013
Help us spread the word about the reality of girls' education and celebrate International Day of the Girl with Girl Rising. If you haven't bought a ticket to our event in NYC yet, please do, and bring your friends!

Share this with your children, your mothers, your fathers, and everyone you know. Let's change some of these facts. #WeAreGirlRising

1. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in school.

2. 66 million girls are out of school globally.

3. If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, it's GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.

4. A girl with an extra year in education can earn 20% more as an adult.

5. Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children.

6. 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year. That's 38 thousand today - or 13 girls in the last 30 seconds.

7. In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence.

50% of sexual assaults in the world victimize girls under the age of 15.

8. The #1 cause of death for girls 15-19 is childbirth.

9. A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.

10. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.

Get your tickets and learn more about our Girl Rising film screening at: theperiodstore.eventbrite.com

TAGS: EDUCATION, GIRL RISING cache cache


September 23rd, 2013

I get a little squirmy when I hear euphemisms for periods. Because really, are "Aunt Flow coming to Town" and "Riding the Crimson Wave"  doing us any favors?

I would really rather not think of my bodily systems as an unexpected, unwanted and annoying family guest or an overwhelming force of nature that holds me captive during its run. (Although that often is exactly how I think of my period)

"Flowers" was a common term for periods in Medieval Europe. It  has been widely assumed that it was a corruption, or an early misspelling, of "flueurs" - flowing.

However, the historian Monica H. Green has found that many of the earliest references to "flowers" as the menses really were referencing flowers.

The Germen nun Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) wrote "The stream of the menstrual period in woman is her generative greenness and floridity, which sprouts forth offspring; for just as a tree flowers in its floridity and sends forth branches and produces fruit, so the female extrudes flowers from the viridity of the streams of menstrual blood and produces branches int he fruit of her womb."

This description is very similar to the way the Beng ethnic group in Ivory Coast discuss menstruation: "Menstrual blood is special because it carries in it a living being. It works like a tree. Before bearing fruit, a tree must first bear flowers. Menstrual blood is like the flower: it must emerge before the fruit - the baby - can be born."

Rather than a simply descriptive reference to the "flowing" nature of period blood, "flowers" is a term that celebrates the life-force behind our monthly visitors and the specialness and beauty of the process. I think that is one euphemism I can get behind.
So take that, Aunt Flow.
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Elisse Newey is a 4th grade teacher, genealogist and mother of a 3 month old -  deep in the heart of Texas

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September 20th, 2013

Have you received your bar of Chili Dark Chocolate by Theo in your period package this cycle? It's delicious!

Get to know Theo Chocolate, based in Seattle, Washington in the below interview. We think you'll like what you read.


If you are in the Seattle area, you should go visit them, they do factory tours!

Periodical: Tell us about yourself. Where are you located and what's your story?

Theo Chocolate: We are proud to be the first Organic, Fair Trade & Fair for Life, Bean-to-Bar chocolate factory in North America. Since 2006, we’ve been making the highest quality chocolate from the world’s best cocoa beans, grown in the most sustainable ways possible. At Theo, we’re dedicated to making our world a better place and we’re finding ways to do it through our passion for chocolate. The choices we make here in Seattle, Washington touch lives across the planet in real and lasting ways. That knowledge, and that responsibility, is what drives us to do things differently, to help make the world a better place. We think about every choice we make, every action we take and how it will impact our interconnected world.

P: Tell us what you think about periods.

Theo: At Theo, we believe in empowering and celebrating women! We do this by actively partnering with organizations that share our commitment and passion for social and environmental responsibility. We look for partners that can help us have a bigger impact, touch more lives and celebrate the connections between each and every one of us.

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?

Theo: Chocolate as a go-to snack while on your period is almost a cliché. But for excellent reasons! Aside from being great for you, dark chocolate is delicious. Try our classic 70% Dark Chocolate Chili bar for a spicy kick with a hint of citrus. We like to pair it with a salty snack and a glass of red.

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Thank you Theo! We're off to enjoy some chocolate!

TAGS: CHOCOLATE, INTERVIEW, ORGANIC cache cache


September 18th, 2013

We love Danielle Henderson. Her rad projects include being a freelance writer, an editor at one of our favorite websites, Rookie Mag, and creating the popular blog (now book!) Feminist Ryan Gosling among many other things.

Earlier this year, she wrote an article for Rookie Mag on how to make your own tampon for those emergency situations when you start your period and just aren't prepared. Go check out the article on Rookie Mag and watch the hilarious and instructive video below.

Obviously once you're subscribed to The Period Store, this DIY tampon shouldn't be necessary, but we still found the article incredibly entertaining, so enjoy.


TAGS: DIY, TAMPONS cache cache


September 17th, 2013

I have two jobs. One is The Period Store and for the other I'm a freelance hair stylist. I style hair for fashion week every few months and right now I'm in the middle of the Spring/Summer fashion shows. New York had runway shows last week, then the shows then went to London, they're headed to Milan in a day or two, and they will end in Paris at the end of the month. Fashion week is actually fashion month, and most people who work in the industry travel for the entire month following the shows from city to city. I am one of them, and along with most of the women traveling with the shows, I had my period in the middle of it all.

Since starting The Period Store, I am obviously a lot more aware of my period than I was before. I always try to think of what periods were like before this endeavor. Honestly, apart from finally being prepared for them and not feeling guilty about eating a bar of chocolate while I'm cramping, they aren't much different. I start my period and I basically forget about it until I have to change my tampon. It annoys me a bit during the week (about the time I'm looking for a bathroom to change my tampon or when I'm cramping or achy), but I mostly don't think about it much. I'm not sure if not thinking about it is a conscious decision or not though.

Last week, in the middle of prepping models for a show, I started having really bad cramps. They came and went and every time they came back I realized that I really wanted to tell someone I was on my period and that I had bad cramps. I didn't want to tell someone about it because it would physically ease the pain, I just felt like it would make it better to be able to relate with a woman about it. It felt kind of isolating to be in physical pain while going about my work like normal. Do you ever feel that way?

Whenever I'm on my period I feel (if only for a second) like I'm the only person in the world who menstruates. I feel a little alone and slightly ashamed, like it must remain a secret. It takes me a second to remember that over half the population in the world menstruates too, and that it's completely normal. In this instance, I realized that I was definitely not the only person in this room, primarily full of women, who was on her period right now.

I don't feel the need to shout it from the rooftops of Manhattan, but I don't want to feel like it's such a negative and secretive thing either. We're trying to create a forum on this blog for this type of conversation. Do you ever feel like you just want someone you can relate to when on your period? I mean, we are all dealing with it every month so why not talk about it?


Rubi

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Rubi Jones is a freelance hairstylist and co-founder of The Period Store living in Paris, France.

TAGS: CONVERSATION, WORK cache cache


September 13th, 2013
Celebrate International Day of the Girl with The Period Store, Girl Rising, and Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Oct. 7th, 2013. Join us for a private screening of the documentary film Girl Rising. Buy tickets here!

Have you heard of the film Girl Rising? If you're feeling emotional, then pull out the tissues before watching the trailer because it can make you a little teary - in a girl power kind of way!

Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins spotlights the remarkable stories of nine girls around the world striving beyond circumstance and overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams. The film uses the storytelling skills of acclaimed writers and voice performances by renowned actors to promote a powerful truth: educating girls can transform families, communities, and entire countries - and break the cycle of poverty in just one generation.

The writers are women from the nine different cities the film visits and the voice performances include those of Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchette, and Selena Gomez. Girl Rising is a movement to empower girls around the world, and one of the great parts of it is that to watch the film, one must attend or organize a screening in your own city


We have been planning this screening for some time now and are very excited to have it on the week of International Day of the Girl. We would be delighted to celebrate with you on Oct. 7th, 2013 from 7:30 - 9:30pm at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in lower Manhattan.

Movie tickets are $18 and include an exclusive gift bag from The Period Store. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the 10×10 Fund for Girls’ Education.

Purchase tickets here: theperiodstore.eventbrite.com

TAGS: FILM, GIRL RISING cache cache


September 12th, 2013


Really interesting NPR RadioLab segment on, what else? BLOOD! Listen up. 

"Back in the 1600's blood was just part of life.  Blood was blood...people back in Shakespeare's day were familiar with the sight of blood, the feel of blood, even the smell of blood..."

Have you ever thought about how, as Americans, the disconnect with our food might be one more reason blood is so taboo?  I don't hate too many things, but I'm a fairly big hater of factory-farms and our general disconnect with the food we eat, particularly when it comes to animals.   I'd never thought about how this disconnect might also influence our relationship to blood and our own bodies.  Do you agree with that?  Interesting bits from RadioLab to make you think differently about blood.  

Image via RadioLab

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

TAGS: BLOOD, NPR, RADIOLAB cache cache


September 9th, 2013

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

This cycle's piece was created by Te Chao.  Below is a short interview with Te so you can get to know her and her beautiful work a little better!

The Period Store: Tell us about yourself

Te Chao: My name is Te and it's pronounced tae. I am originally from China and moved to the states in 2000. Spend most of my years in California and graduated from Laguna College of Art+Design with BFA Illustration. Moved to New York a year ago to continue my study of illustration after two years of working in a gallery. I love nature, brunch, romance movies and terrified of cockroaches.

TPS: How's your period?

TC: We have a love-hate relationship. It has been abnormal since college and stopped all together after I graduated for about a year until I finally went to see the doctor. I am now on medication daily and just glad when my period comes on time each month.

Period is more than just "female" health, it regulates everything that has to do with a woman's body and should be seen as so. I know periods can be "annoying", but with everything that can happen in life, when the cycle starts, you know at least there's one thing going right.

TPS: Tell us about the artwork you created for this month's period package.

TC: Recently I've been drawing a lot of mushrooms because they are very fun. When I think of the Period Store, I think of what it stands for to me-celebration of womanhood and life. It should be cheerful, colorful, lovely and beautiful. 

TPS: How do you think being a woman influences your work?

TC: I draw a lot of children, men, and nature(mostly flowers). Being a women, these are my most interested topics I guess, haha. Other than that, I think my aesthetic is something that would be considered as very feminine. For sometime I was fighting it because I did not to be a "cliche", but not anymore. I embrace my sensibility, my taste, my attention to detail and anything else that comes naturally to me, because that is what makes me unique. 

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Thanks, TeIf you have artwork that you would like to submit to The Period Store contact us at info[at]theperiodstore.com.

TAGS: ART, ARTIST HIGHLIGHT, CALIFORNIA cache cache


September 4th, 2013

As women around the world we all, of course, experience life differently. But ask a woman to talk to you about her period, and you will find an instant connection. We at The Period Store love women and feel a sisterhood with women in the US and abroad. Perhaps this sisterhood is due to our history of struggle together, through women's suffrage to the women's liberation movement and on. Perhaps it is because of how our brains are hardwired. Regardless, this sisterhood and connectivity is one of the many reasons we have The Periodical and the "Periods Around the World" series in particular. We want to educate ourselves and others about how women experience and manage their periods in different cultures. 

Meet Winy from Toronto, Canada. Winy writes for the lifestyle blog Coco and Cowe and you can find her on twitter as @mllebernard. Thank you for being a part of this series!

Periodical: How and when did you learn about periods?
Winy: I remember learning about periods thru my mom, literally when I got my first period.

P: Do you remember your first period? Were you prepared?
W: I was 11 years old and it was just before the first day of school.  I certainly was not prepared for it, didn't understand the change that was about to happen and didn't want it. I remember telling my mom that I didn't want my period and that if I got it, I wouldn't be a kid anymore and that scared the hell out of me. 


P:  How has period management in Canada changed over time?
W: I think that it definitely has involved, from mega pads that look like serviettes to an array of choices for women to choose from. I also think that the subject matter is also being discussed in the open and thru advertising to inform young girls which is really important.

P: Any cultural taboos related to periods in Canada?
W: For me, being Canadian but of Haitian descent, we refer to getting your periods as " les anglais ont débarqué" a French expression which indicates that your period has arrived. When the British descended on to France in the 19th century and the colour of their uniforms were red thus the origin of this expression.
 
P: The Period Store is all about celebrating womanhood. In what ways does Canada celebrate womanhood?
W: We celebrate International Women day as well as the International Young Women day.

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Would you like to tell us about periods where you're from?  Send us an e-mail info[at]theperiodstore.com
TAGS: CANADA cache cache


August 30th, 2013


Dread your menstrual week because of period-related aches and fatigue? Hey, it’s not all bad! The onset of your period signals significant hormone changes that can make you happier and healthier. Here are 4 reasons you can look forward to your flow:

1. It puts the kibosh on PMS!

There’s no better antidote to annoying premenstrual syndrome—and the moodiness, irritability, sleeplessness and other discomforts related to it—than getting your period. That’s because it signals that estrogen is rising, reversing the cause of your premenstrual woes: plunging estrogen. Even better? This hormone continues to rise all throughout your menstrual week, improving your mood, outlook and energy as it climbs! (Hint: Eating foods high in iron—such as beans, fortified cereal, spinach and tofu— or taking an 18 mg. iron supplement daily can help boost your mood and energy even faster by replacing iron lost during menstruation.)

2. It helps the bathroom scale numbers go down!

The arrival of your period signals another significant hormone change: It means progesterone has now bottomed out. And that’s great news since this hormone was the culprit behind uncomfortable constipation and water retention in the second half of your cycle, which had you lugging around an extra pound or two. This hormone was also the reason your breasts were so sore. Now, you’ll be able to jog and run up and down stairs without squealing in pain!

3. It’s a great week to get healthy!

Been wanting to launch a diet? Begin a new exercise regimen? Quit smoking? Or adopt another healthy habit? Your period week is a perfect time to start! Why? As your body’s level of estrogen climbs throughout this week, it’s reining in your appetite, boosting pep, reducing withdrawal symptoms, ratcheting up your motivation and creating other positive effects that make lifestyle changes far easier to stick to than if you started them during the second half of your cycle!

4. Your spatial skills sharpen!

Need to put together a bookshelf, suddenly change your driving route due to construction or read a map? You’ll excel at these and other tasks requiring spatial skills—the ability to picture and move objects around in your mind—during your period week, according to researchers from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. As the researchers explain, even though estrogen is on the rise, it’s still relatively low, which allows testosterone—a hormone that boosts spatial skills—to exert a great effect!

Gabrielle Lichterman is the founder of Hormonology® and the Hormone Horoscope®, and author of 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential. She offers a free daily Hormone Horoscope at HormoneHoroscope.com.

Artwork via Pilar Zeta

TAGS: HORMONE HOROSCOPE, PMS, WEIGHT LOSS cache cache


August 28th, 2013

A few months ago I had the opportunity to attend the 20th biennial conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research at Marymount College in Manhattan.  The opening of the conference included bestowing the "Making Menstruation Matter Award" to the one and only Gloria Steinem.  

For many of us, regardless of political or religious beliefs, Gloria Steinem is a huge inspiration.  What struck me most after seeing Ms. Steinem speak on a few occasions this summer was that each time I listened, she came from a place of sincerity and kindness.  I believe everyone can learn something from Gloria Steinem.  When you have a moment, listen to her words above on menstruation and womanhood.

The conference itself was attended by both men and women, passionate about the topic of menstruation in some form or other.  In attendance were doctors, artists, researchers, public figures, teachers, students, nonprofit leaders and business owners.  Surprisingly (or not?), for the most part, big brand presence was largely lacking at the conference aside from alternative products - which I thought was unfortunate!  I hope more large brands show up, support the society, and join the conversation in the future.  I truly believe that if we really care about women, everyone should be at the menstruation round table. 

Learn more about the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research on their website and read part of their mission below :

The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1979 by a multidisciplinary group of women who were pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to women’s health. We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers, health care providers, policy makers, and students who share an interest in women’s lives and health needs as they are related to the menstrual cycle.
Our mission is to be the source of guidance, expertise, and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle.

One of the many reasons we started The Period Store was to raise awareness about the variety of products that exist for period management.  Traditional products work for a lot of women (many of us use them), but if alternative products are being made, there must a reason!  And we want to know what those reasons are and discuss them openly.  Opinions about periods and products are as varied as periods themselves, but we all have to buy these products (unless you make your pads at home, in which case you are awesome). We might as well know what's out there and why.  The bottom line is that we all want to have the best period experience possible, and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research is an important organization invested in making that happen.

Find the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research on their website, blog, facebook and twitter @smcrtweets.

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

TAGS: GLORIA STEINEM, SMCR cache cache


August 26th, 2013

The ( • ) Project is a tumblr devoted to first period stories of 300 words or less (fiction and nonfiction). The stories are short enough to make you click through all of their archives without giving it a second thought. We asked the founders Mia and Derrick how the project got started. Check out their answers after reading one of our favorite stories below.


"I know all my friends' stories about having sex for the first time, but I don't think I know anyone's first period story," Derrick realized, almost concerned. 

And so it began. Why don't we share our stories of getting our first period with enthusiasm and treat it like a rite of passage? Even years later, when we've gotten over the socially-constructed "ick factor," when we've looked at our vaginas with a mirror, when we've seen so many moons wax and wane, we still don't share period stories like the monthly warriors we are. This was what we realized over fries and milk shakes. We decided a forum was necessary for people of all genders to share and participate in this exclusive and often elusive experience. Super short, almost fleeting prose on Tumblr seemed all too perfect for the cause. 

The Period Project calls for stories of 300 words or less about first periods. All are welcome. 

As of today, The ( • ) Project and will be sharing stories on The Periodical every other month.  To celebrate this partnership we are giving away one of our "Go With The Flow" tote bags.

Here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Submit a First Period Story to The ( • ) Project with the subject line "The Period Store Giveaway" and you'll be entered into the drawing.

Remember, your story can be fiction or nonfiction — 300 words or less— of first periods, written by individuals of any gender.

Submit to: theperiodprojectblog@gmail.com.

The winner will be picked at random and contacted on Monday, Sept. 2nd 2013.

Good luck!

TAGS: GIVEAWAY cache cache


August 23rd, 2013

We met the team behind Sister Bliss Aromatherapy products a few months ago and our apartments have never smelled the same since. Not only are we obsessed with their products, but the energy of their team is so positive that it's hard not to be obsessed with the people behind the brand as well. We are very excited to be carrying their products in our shop. We had a little chat with Jhonathan about the beginnings of the company, periods, women, and the benefits of aromatherapy products. We hope you enjoy getting to know them a little better too.

The Periodical: We love Sister Bliss Extreme Aromatherapy products! How did Sister Bliss begin?

Sister Bliss: Sister Bliss was born from inspired necessity and a dream of something better.  I was working as a massage therapist at an upscale day spa owned by a woman that knew exactly how she wanted things and wasn't afraid to tell you. One day she decided she wanted the massage therapists to sell retail products to her customers yet the spa did not carry anything the massage therapists could realistically talk about with massage clients. She had plenty of skin care products to offer, but people don't generally talk to their massage therapist about skincare and I explained this to her. She was open to new products being introduced that were more appropriate for her massage staff and told us to let her know if we found anything that would sell there. Later that same day, a woman was on my massage table who unfortunately for both of us had smelly feet. Massaging the feet is part of any good massage and  found myself silently pleading to the universe to help me find some kind of spray that I could use if this unpleasant situation ever arose again. So I went to a health food store to try to find something organic, but everything I found were things like tea tree oil sprays or blends that smelled practically as bad as the feet did. Between me needing to find an all natural anti-foot odor spray and the spa owner wanting us to sell sell sell, I decided I would be the one to solve both issues and buy some small bottles of essential oils and just make a great smelling, all natural spray for any kind of odor that needed covering up. After much experimentation my first blend Peppermint Alarm Clock was born. For the next several nights, more ideas for more formulas starting flooding in. I was awakened out of deep sleep  several nights with new ideas. I had the formulas already clear in my head and i just DID it.  It was completely INSPIRED. I bottled it, labeled it, and brought it to my boss. She fell in love with it, ordered a huge amount of it, and we started selling it at the spa and it was a huge success with our customers.  Little by little I added formulas to my line, which has been in constant evolution ever since it's inception, and I am very proud of the beauty my company creates in the lives of the people that use it. I have a motto I live by in my work and my life. Just do your best, and let it go. It has worked wonders for me.

P: Is there a story behind the Sister Bliss name?

SB: There is. I wanted a name that was cosmic, magical and female positive. I have a deep conviction that women will save our world. The more women that become enlightened and realize their greatness and true power to create real change, the quicker this planet will heal. I wanted a name that was bold and powerful yet loving and kind, like a sister. I can't imagine a better state to be in than bliss, so SISTER BLISS was perfect to communicate the feelings of JOY, CONFIDENCE and FEMALE POWER. Along with my logo I think the name communicates those feelings. Take a look at the logo. SISTER BLISS is FIERCE. 

P: Sister Bliss products are original and distinctive aromatherapy blends that are made from only natural oils. Why is it so inmportant to use 100% pure, high integrity botanical extracts?

SB: First of all, synthetic fragrances are loaded with chemicals that are unhealthy. We have enough toxins in our environment to not add to them by spraying  harmful chemicals into our home or work atmosphere and then BREATHE it in. Additionally, elements from nature just smell BETTER. They are full and well rounded with a broad spectrum of molecules that register in the olfactory receptors as something NATURAL that automatically makes us, other creatures of nature, more relaxed and in touch with elements from our natural habitat. Factory made synthetic sprays are foreign to our systems. Essential Oils are made from plants, wood, fruit, flowers and spices, things our bodies RECOGNIZE  as what we should be smelling. Synthetic aromas don't register that way. They "feel" hollow and dull. They just sit there inside your head and nasal passages, but natural aromas effect your mood in a very profound way. They breathe life into you. They make you feel alive. Even calming oils make you feel more vibrant as they relax you. Sister Bliss also uses HIGH GRADE THERAPEUTIC or ORGANIC quality essential oils as we strive to use the freshest, best smelling, longest lasting, most potent oils available. 

P: What are some ways Sister Bliss sprays can be used? Can we spray them on a specific body part or in a room?

SB: Sister Bliss has many uses. Of course each formula has it's own specific function. Some relax. Some energize. Some are good for stress or to help you concentrate. Other formulas create a cozy and welcoming feeling in your home. You can mist your body for an all natural perfume, a room to create just the right atmosphere, your sheets, (Dream Weaver at night sprayed over your bed is amazingly sleep inducing) and in your car. (throw out those pine trees that hang from the rearview mirror) I even use the Immaculate blend on a paper towel and throw it in the dryer with my towels or bedding. It makes everything smell like Fine French Lavender. It's very pleasant and better than chemically scented dryer sheets. Blends like Citron Bomb and Peppermint Alarm Clock are perfect for the bathroom and kitchen as they obliterate other odors and make everything smell fantastic. Our Yoga and Meditation blends are specifically formulated to help a person get relaxed, grounded and focused on their sessions. Later on in the day, when used again, they can help you to return to that calm place just by the suggestion of the smell that you associate with a more centered time. The travel sizes are ideal to take anywhere you go and are also small enough to be able to be with you when flying. It's a welcome thing to have to make your hotel room a little more homey with a familiar aroma. 

P: Is there a specific spray you would recommend for soothing pain caused by periods?

SB: Time and Tide is ideal. Clary Sage has been known for centuries to be THE women's oil and Time And Tide has a lot of it contained in the formula. It is said to help ease menstrual cramps, balance PMS and also eases the discomfort of menopause. The other oils in the formula are for relaxation and to help calm extreme emotions. The aroma of Time And Tide is also very pleasing. It's exotic a little sweet and woody all at the same time. It's a very comforting and soothing aroma. There are other blends like Immaculate and No Worries that are great for stress relief, and they can be used for uncomfortable times as well, but I would use them in conjunction with Time And Tide.  Of course an essential oil spray should never substitute medical care, so I would recommend using it in addition to other care that is normally recommended by a doctor, but your environment and mood will most likely improve by using it, plus it smells wonderful.   

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Thank you so much Jhonathan and the entire Sister Bliss team. Add a Sister Bliss bottle to your next package here. Follow Sister Bliss on twitter, facebook, and instagram - @sisterblissaromatherapy for more updates from this all-natural aromatherapy brand.

TAGS: AROMATHERAPY, SISTER BLISS cache cache


August 20th, 2013

My name is Duchess and I am the voice of Underland NY, a Brooklyn-based music site for the artists, audiences, and venues of New York City. We’ve recently teamed up with the lovely Period Store to bring you a custom monthly playlist. Each month will have a different theme or mood. Our first playlist is flow -- a dynamic mix of carefree, vibrant music crescendoing with songs of tension and release.

Underland only works with independent artists, so much of the music you’re going to hear is completely new and off the radar. We’ll bring spoken word, meditations, and other audio stimulation to your future playlists. Next month, we’re going to have a few exclusive tracks, written just for The Period Store.

If you haven’t already downloaded your free mix, head over to our bandcamp page and enter the code you’ll find on this month’s download card. I encourage you to explore the bands you like and appreciate any feedback you may have (love notes to bands are always appreciated). Happy menstruating!

Madly Yours,

Duchess

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We couldn't be more excited about our collaboration with Underland NY. We've been listening to the August playlist while we work. Have you had a listen yet? Are there any artists that you particularly loved?

TAGS: MUSIC, UNDERLAND NY cache cache


August 19th, 2013

If we weren't afraid, Ashley, Nate and I would have launched The Period Store at least a year before we did.

We came up with the concept of The Period Store in 2011 and were extremely passionate about it from day one. Ashley and I emailed each other "we need to do this" every time one of us or our friends got their periods. We brainstormed and worked on it quite seriously for a while, but it took us almost a year to really take the plunge and start actively looking for a web designer and developer to make our idea a reality.

This post is inspired by Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In. Have you read it? We're still in the middle of it but would love to hear your thoughts on the book.

The Lean In team started a tumblr of women's responses to the question, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" It's incredibly inspiring.


So here goes… if I weren't afraid, I would...

- invest even more into my dreams. 

- tell people who are opposed to talking about periods that they are contributing to a culture that shames women.

- tell someone when a comment of theirs is sexist or inappropriate.

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

TAGS: LEAN IN cache cache


August 16th, 2013

The Period Store was created so we could have a place to shop for and talk about period management products and remedies from around the world. We have been expanding our Herbal Remedies and Aromatherapy categories in the last couple months and are very happy to introduce our newest product Pacific Herbs PMS Relief Herb Pack.

Cathy, the founder of Pacific Herbs is a a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist and Diplomat of Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Master's Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, undergraduate degree from SMU, and is the author of "Stop Your Bitching...Naturally! A Step By Step Guide to Balance Your Hormones Naturally and End PMS & Menstrual Cramps"

The PMS Relief Herbs Packs are made of 14 herbs (one of which is Red Peony!). You mix a pack with water and drink it as a tea, on the day you start feeling PMS symptoms or the day before to prevent them. These herb packs relieve cramps, back pain, bloating, irritability, achy feeling, breast tenderness, and body aches. 

If you're like me and are always looking for natural alternatives for pain relief then you should give these herbs a try. If you're not like me and swear by western medicine then you should also give these a try and see how they compare. Lucky for all of you, we're giving away herbal packs to 100 of The Period Store subscribers! 

Here's how to Win Free PMS Relief Herbs Packs:

1. Leave a comment on our facebook page telling us the age you had your first period with the hashtag #periodstoregiveaway

For example: "I was 12 #periodstoregiveaway"

The first 100 people to post on our facebook page will get 2 free herb packs in their next package.

Note: You must be a subscriber to enter this giveaway. If you're not already, start your package here!

TAGS: CRAMPS, GIVEAWAY, HERBAL REMEDIES, PACIFIC HERBS, PMS cache cache


August 14th, 2013

The next city in our Periods Around the World series is Helsinki, Finland.  We found Lidia thanks to our conversations about periods with Hayley from Paramore and Lidia was kind enough to answer a few questions about periods in her part of Finland.  We appreciate it!

The Period Store: How and when did you learn about periods?

Lidia: I don't remember exactly when it was but I know I was younger than 12, because that's when I got my first period and I remember knowing what to expect. I read a lot of magazines and the Q&A sections featured in the magazines were helpful, even though I found them quite hilarious.

TPS: Do you remember your first period?  Were you prepared?

L: Yes. I had turned 12 a week ago and I was with a friend who was three years younger than me. I remember going to the bathroom and realizing what had happened. I also remember storming out and blurting out the words "I got my period" to my friend who had no idea what a period was. She said "cool" and I swore she had to keep quiet about it. My friend lived two apartments away from my apartment so I just ran home to tell my mom. I didn't want to tell any of my friends and when I did I was bullied because of it, which now seems ridiculous. Later I remember my friends texting me and asking me for advice when they got theirs so it was pretty ironic.

TPS: Are there any period remedies/products specific to Finland?

L: I don't think there are any that are specific to Finland. All I know that instead of hot water bottles we have these "grain pillows" that you put in the microwave and then you can put one over your stomach to relieve cramps.

TPS: How has period management in Finland changed over time? 

L: I think the advertising of different kinds of supplies has become more positive. The commercials for maxi pads will always be cringe-worthy but they are not underestimating the viewers anymore. I know that when my grandparents were young they had no individually wrapped maxi pads so you'd have to carry the whole package with you at all times.

TPS: Are there any cultural taboos related to periods Finland? 

L: I don't know if it's just my group of friends but people don't usually talk about periods. We all know we all have them but no one wants to say anything about it. We suffer in silence. Finnish people aren't very good at showing their emotions in public so I think us being very reserved has something to do with this. I know that a lot of my friends, or me, don't want to talk about our periods because we think that toilet things should stay in the toilet, if you know what I mean.

TPS: The Period Store encourages the celebration of womanhood. In what ways does Finland celebrate/embrace womanhood? 

L: I don't think we do. We don't really celebrate people when they get their first period, it's more of a "cool, you're a woman now, now keep quiet". And men still find it weird and gross. I wish this changed though. I have tried changing my view on the whole thing and hope that if I have a daughter one day she won't have to go through the same kind of embarrassment that I went through.

You can find Lidia on twitter @invalidia.  Would you like to tell us about periods where you're from?  Send us an e-mail info[at]theperiodstore.com

TAGS: FINLAND, HELSINKI cache cache


August 12th, 2013

We're always excited to announce new vendors and post their awesome stories.  We're now carrying Giuliana Serena's Moontime Rising mirrors and bracelets in the shop, so we thought we'd ask her a few questions about menstruation, her story and the products she's created.  We'd imagine there are few women in the world as enthusiastic about menstruation as Giuliana - so read on and if you feel so inclined, be sure to visit her site, sign up for her newsletter and like her on Facebook!

The Period Store: Tell us about yourself.

Giuliana Serena: I’m a Moon + Moontime Lover, Menstrual Cycle Advocate, Celebrant, Facilitator and Planetary Citizen. I’m fortunate to have married my very best friend and together we’re raising two beautiful boys. A loving and wild canine companion rounds out our little family. I’m passionate about supporting all of us to live with greater awareness and appreciation of the cycles of nature, and especially women to embrace the gifts of menstruation, and learn to love living our cycles!

TPS: How did Moontime Rising come about?

GS: It all started back in 2006. I was inspired by a series of intimate conversations with a doula friend to create a new, hands-on way to track our cycles. I knew that if I could create something beautiful and practical enough, we could use it to empower ourselves on a daily basis to make informed decisions about our health and wellness, and reclaim the power inherent in the fundamental relationship of a woman and her cycle.

The first prototype of this new calendar was a straight wire strung with beautiful stone beads, and a separate bead on a clasp that I moved each day along its length. Thanks to a prophetic dream I had one night, it evolved onto a spiral coil, and eventually a bracelet I could wear. I was so moved by the symbolic beauty of this new calendar and the immediacy of the transformation I was feeling from using it, that I dedicated myself to continue developing this powerful tool for my own well being, and as a contribution to society.

I eventually named these relational calendars Moon CycleTimepieces, offering a kinesthetic way to connect with the Moon’s cycle, our own Moontime cycles (periods!), and a spiral interpretation of time.

I read and researched and studied, and most of all, I paid attention to my own body. Every day. I listened to its signals. I tracked my cycles and sought out healing. I sat in supportive circles.The more I learned about calendars and timekeeping, fertility and menstruation, the history and modern experience of women, the more I was sure I needed a conscious daily practice to support me as much in relating to the lunar cycle as my own body’s cycle.

In 2011, I created Moontime Rising as an expression of my dedication to moving forward the integration of the masculine and feminine, a reintegration of humanity with the planet, and a co-creative society in which we get to thrive in relationship with the great cosmos, with one another, and with ourselves.

Since then, I’ve created other hands-on tools, such as the Moontime Bracelets and Love Your Lady Parts Mirrors, as well as Period Positive Pins. I write and share my thoughts at MoontimeRising.com, in my Cyclical Moon Letters, and on my Facebook page. I facilitate ceremony, lead circles, and host workshops, educational film screenings, and movement gatherings in my local community.

As I grow, I’ll continue to develop additional tools and resources to contribute to the collective. I am so excited that my work is making a difference in the world, and am absolutely thrilled to be partnering with The Period Store to make our similar visions a reality!

TPS: Tell us about the Love Your Lady Parts Mirrors - how should they be used?

GS: Whenever I tell people about the mirrors the first thing they usually do is laugh. And then, when they realize I’m not joking, and I really want them to look at their lady parts, they get wide eyed and curious. Back in the 70s there was a significant movement to get us educated about our vulvas and vaginas, and women would get together and use a speculum and mirrors to have a good look.

But when was the last time you were at one of those parties? Probably never. And hey, you might not want to do that in a group setting anyway. And you certainly don’t have to. I often ask women: “Do you know what your lady parts look like?” Most of them shake their heads. So, ladies, I ask you: “Why don’t you see for yourself?!”

The Love Your Lady Parts Mirrors are just the right size for discovering your intimate anatomy. Keep them in your bedroom, bathroom or in your bag and use them to check up on your lady parts regularly to familiarize yourself with your own unique shape and learn what is normal for you.

You might be asking, why would I want one of these? Wouldn’t any mirror work? Of course! At the same time, there’s something really special about having something beautiful that encourages you to have a healthy perspective (literally!). They come packaged in a pretty little bag with a hand drawn diagram of a vulva to get you started - and can be a great way to introduce a young woman in your life to the value of self discovery, intimacy, and begin or continue critical conversations about sexuality, fertility, reproductive health, and body positivity.

TPS: What are the Moontime Bracelet?

After making the Timepieces for several years, I realized that while many women were fascinated and excited by the possibility of wearing jewelry symbolically for their cycle, not everyone was ready to take on a hands-on practice of fertility and lunar awareness.

So I came up with the Moontime Bracelets. Made from stones evocative of the sacred feminine, they are designed to be worn during your Moontime (aka Flow, Cycle, Period, Menstruation) as a symbol of your intention to embrace your cyclical experience and honor this beautifully important phase of your body’s cycle. They serve to remind you that you are in a special place, that you have access to a deeper part of your subconscious, and that you are in a place of power. This kind of awareness can facilitate an empowering experience of your flow.

They really make a wonderful gift for any cycling woman – and especially for young women coming into menarche (their first flow). Even women who don’t have a menstrual cycle of their own can wear them to consciously reclaim a cycle, either the lunar cycle we all share or one of their own choosing. They come in a pretty little bag along with a paper copy of one of my most popular blog posts, highlighting “13 Ways to Love Your Moontime.”, which helps to educate and inform you and the women you love about how to have a better experience of menstruation.

TPS: How is your period?  How do you feel about menstruation?

GS: I love my period! I love the whole process: the biological, physiological, psychological, physical, metaphysical, and spiritual aspects. With the great exception of course, of the social stigmas and shaming that just about every woman is confronted with, and the significant challenges faced by impoverished women - especially in the global south. There’s really a tremendous amount of work to be done to elevate the conversation and create better living conditions for women around the world - and I’m excited to be contributing to the movement that’s rising up all over the world to make a difference.

So back to my cycle: When I first started at the age of 12 it was actually quite painful. I had awful cramps and bled a whole lot. As with many women and girls, I was prescribed birth control pills to help with the symptoms. After a couple years, I decided the pills weren’t for me, and I’m so glad I stopped!

As I’ve gotten more conscious over the years, my periods have gotten more and more pleasurable. I still get occasional cramps, though they’ve diminished to the point where lately, they’re a rare occurrence. I commonly have a feeling of fullness, muscle aches, some discomfort, and certainly a shorter fuse, though since I track my cycle on a daily basis, I know ahead of time when to start taking it easy. I ask my family for space and care for myself as well as I can.

I bleed a whole lot less these days than I used to as well. When I started it was normal for me to bleed for heavily for three to four days, and then moderately for at least one or two more. It really felt like forever! These days I typically have one day of heavy flow followed by a moderate day, and then one or two days of spotting.

There are many things I do which I believe to have contributed to this shift in my experience. I’d say the most significant would be switching to cloth pads at the age of 18, eating a plant based diet with lots of nutritious herbal infusions, cultivating a positive attitude towards my cycle, and making sure I get plenty of breast massage and lots of orgasms throughout my cycle - it seriously makes a difference, ladies!

I often tell people that knowledge is power and knowing your cycle is one of the most empowering choices you can possibly make when it comes to self awareness and embodiment as a woman. Developing a conscious awareness of the value of menstruation has been tremendously empowering for me personally - so much so that I’m dedicating my life’s work to helping others to discover it for themselves!

I have found that to be grounded in our bodies and centered in our cycles is to be authentically engaged in the ecstatic flow of our lives. And having a daily practice of awareness of my cycle and living my life accordingly has brought a profound sense of connection and well-being that I cannot imagine living without!

TPS: If there is one message you could give to menstruating women, what would it be?

Your menstrual cycles don’t just happen to you or through you. These vital cycles are an expression of who you are, an embodiment of your creative feminine force, and your birthright as a woman.

Remember, as you explore the possibilities of conscious menstruation, that the very nature of this path of discovery is cyclical. You may not always feel like loving your period. And that’s okay. Some cycles will be more intense than others, just like the rest of life, though I assure you the path leads to an ever expanding source of personal power. Each cycle is a new opportunity to relate in a new way – so be sure to enjoy the exploration!

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Thanks, Giuliana!  Check out Giuliana's Moontime Bracelets and Love Your Lady Parts Mirrors in our inventory!  Visit Moontime Rising, sign up for the newsletter and find her on Facebook.

TAGS: ACCESSORIES, GIULIANA SERENA, MIRROR, MOONTIME BRACELET, MOONTIME RISING cache cache


August 9th, 2013

This cycle, our customers are receiving a sweet by D.C.-based company Uncle Chip's. We interviewed Shannon, the founder of Uncle Chip's below to learn a little bit more about her story and the delicious black bean brownie in our packages this month (which are Vegan AND Gluten-Free).

Periodical: Tell us about yourself. Where are you located and what's your story?

Uncle Chip's: I'm a San Francisco transplant living in DC.  My bakery has been open for 2 years now and started in my home kitchen!  The brick and mortar store is right down the street from the US Capitol so Uncle Chip's delivers to a ton of politicians and lobbyists along with DC residents and downtown offices.  We're the only bakery in the city to make a black bean brownie and some of our customers don't even know it's different until we tell them.

P: Tell us what you think about periods.

UC: Periods = Midol.  That's all I have to say.  God Bless America and God Bless Midol.

P: Why do you think women on their periods will enjoy your sweets?

UC: When you're on your period you need chocolate!  And you don't want to feel gross after eating it.  Our black bean brownies allow you to eat what you crave while providing a good fiber to calorie ratio to keep you full, and keep you going.  I swear we have the best black bean brownies you've ever tasted (if you've ever tasted one before, that is).

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Thanks Uncle Chip's! We LOVE the brownies and can't wait to try your other baked goods!

TAGS: CHOCOLATE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN cache cache


August 7th, 2013

We are now shipping period subscription boxes to Canada!  If you're Canadian, just click on the Canadian flag in the top right corner of The Period Store website to shop - prices adjusted for shipping over the border. Excited to spread the period love to all you Canucks out there!

To celebrate this announcement we're doing a giveaway limited to Canadian residents! 

To Enter:

- Follow the instructions in the widget bellow.

You have FOUR chances to enter so good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway The winner will be chosen at random at 12:00am on August 15th.

*The Period Store and Rafflecounter won't use your email address for any reason but to contact the winner of the giveaway and to keep track of the number of times you entered.
This giveaway is limited to Canada residents only

TAGS: CANADA, GIVEAWAY, PERIODS IN CANADA, SHIPPING cache cache


August 5th, 2013

The Period Store works with contemporary artists each cycle to bring you a limited edition 5"x7" print that touches on some aspect of womanhood.  Good or bad, we're all inspired in some way by menstruation and the feminine issues surrounding it.  Art is a visual language we can utilize to address these feminine topics, which is one of the many reasons we include art in each package.  We hope to eventually have a large collection of artwork dedicated to womanhood and menstruation.

We are especially excited this month to introduce you to our first male artist for The Period Store, Federico Infante.  Below is a short interview with Federico so you can get to know him and his beautiful work a little better.

The Period Store: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Federico Infante: I'm a Chilean artist living the dream in NY, enjoying the chance to do my paintings and showing them to as many people as I can. I believe that Painting and life are extremely connected, both need a open and honest approach if what we want in return is happiness.

TPS: What do you think about periods?

FI:  this is the best question ever! I'm intrigued about everything that involves human behavior and periods are a interesting way to realize how little do I know about women. I think I know what happens biologically but the mystery remains in their minds, the way women go through their periods can be a chance to remind us how complex we are.

TPS:  Can you tell us about the artwork featured in this month's packages?

FI: Like in all my paintings, the introspection of the character sets the mood and the atmosphere of the image. In this case, the woman can act as a reflection to anybody's story. An open conclusion.

TPS: How have women influenced your life?  Do women or female themes influence your work?

FI: My mother raised me, so my perception of life comes with a strong female influence and I happy that it's like that. I'm proud to be pretty much always impressed when it comes to women.

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Thank you, Federico!  If you have artwork that you would like to submit to The Period Store contact us at info[at]theperiodstore.com. 

TAGS: ARTIST, FEDERICO INFANTE, MALE cache cache


August 1st, 2013


Let me start off by saying that I am a man.  I should also clarify that this is Nate, the third cofounder of The Period Store.  And as you can see in the above Kotex video, a lot of men feel uncomfortable buying menstrual supplies.  The most common reaction falls juuust short of chivalrous.  

To be completely honest, I can relate to each of these men (some more than others).  It wasn't too long ago that this was my experience buying period products:  I would dash off to the store to buy Ashley (cofounder, and my wife) some needed FHPs. My mission:  to buy a box of tampons, maybe pads, and then fill my cart with everything from movies to groceries to pillows to distract everyone from the tampons.  Next, carefully choose the cashier.  It had to be a guy, preferably someone shy--this way, we would both be equally uncomfortable so that neither of us would acknowledge what I was buying.  Women cashiers were off limits, and so were cool guys--anybody who might look like they'd comment on my purchases.  Did my plan work?  You bet it did.

Flash forward a few years, and I'm the guy who's buying tampons, pads, sponges, and menstrual cups by the hundreds for The Period Store.  So how did I get from point a to point b?  Well, after you've stood in line with about 40 boxes of tampons and an attractive cashier checking you out (checking out my products, not me), it starts to get a little easier.  

But why are men so afraid of the T word to begin with?  Or the M word?  It's a really good question, and although I cannot speak for everyone, I do have a few thoughts.  We are all products of our generation, and our thoughts/actions are influenced by both men and women.

On the one hand, men generally don't talk about menstruation - they just don't (I would like to note that I have recently found the topic of menstruation quite the conversation starter around my male counterparts).  Men talk about "manly" things:  sports, cars, women, etc.  And just because we talk about women, doesn't mean that we talk about their periods.  That's off limits--it's in the unwritten, but culturally understood book of manliness.  To mention periods among your male peers or even your elders is just plain and simply a taboo, and this is one taboo line that we do not cross.  Without change, this cycle will continue to repeat itself.

On the other hand, I remember several occasions as a child when I'd be watching TV with friends and a tampon or pad commercial would come on.  Right around the time the ubiquitous blue liquid started to pour, moms would come running into the room to change the channel.  Really?  If anything, this just left me with more questions, like, do girls really have blue pee?  And, why don't moms come running in during the Brawny commercials? In hindsight, I know they were trying to do a good thing, but what they really did was instill in me a sense of secrecy about menstruation and menstrual products.

Having said this, I do think that times are changing.  The Kotex video mentioned that 40% of people are uncomfortable buying tampons.  I'd imagine that 10 years ago, this number was much higher, and that 10 years from now, it will be even lower.  I'm resistant to change - I'm a man - but in this case, I think any change that makes us men more understanding is a good thing.

For all you guys out there who aren't quite ready to make this leap, I'd be happy to buy your special someone's period products for her.  Who knows? This may be my life calling.  

Boy, were those high school aptitude tests wrong.

Nate

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Nathan Smith, born-again feminist, juggles TPS inventory and vendor relations when he's not at his full time job in New York City.  He has a background in Russian, Advertising and Communications, and Anthropology.

TAGS: MEN, MEN AND PERIODS cache cache


July 31st, 2013

Last week my period came two days early. I didn't have cramps, or any other symptoms except for halfway through the day I suddenly got fat. Well not really but my abdomen was so bloated! I had been doing ab workouts for the past couple of weeks too so it was pretty discouraging... I started my period a few hours later and my body was back to its normal self a few hours after that. 


Here comes some science: Hormone changes caused by menstruation can slow digestion and cause water retention before and during your period. This can lead to bloating, fatigue and tender breasts. Some women gain a couple of pounds right before their period and lose them when their period ends.

You can prevent bloating by avoiding too much salt right before your period starts and make sure you're eating plenty of fiber. And just because your body could be retaining water doesn't mean you shouldn't stay hydrated, so make sure to drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables to keep your energy up. I guess these are all things we should be doing regularly (and maybe the massive salad from Chipotle didn't help out my situation that day), but it doesn't hurt to be extra conscious of our health during that time of the month.

Do you get bloated when you're about to start your period? Do you have any tips for bloating?

Rubi

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Rubi Jones is a hairstylist also juggling TPS management while living in Paris.

TAGS: BLOATING cache cache


July 29th, 2013

Many of you may remember back in 2012, when CNN posted an article titled "Do hormones drive women's votes?"  The article was promptly removed after receiving negative feedback from CNN viewers, and it created quite a stir on the internet.  The idea that women's decisions are influenced largely by their cycles, something they have relatively little control over (discounting birth control pills - but still, a woman has to buy these pills from someone else) is disconcerting to a lot of people, both men and women.

But since then, we've seen books like Woman Code and The Hormone Cure, along with websites like Moontime Rising and Hormonology.  These are all books and websites that I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.  And all of this begs the question, what's so wrong with the idea of a woman being influenced by this monthly cycle?  What's the big deal?  It seems as though the larger issue is that women may no longer be in tune with this monthly cycle.  I am guessing that the more women are in touch with their natural rhythm, the less they are concerned with controlling it.  Working with it, certainly.  But controlling?  The very idea of needing to control something suggests that it is wild and needs to be tamed.  And isn't that putting us back into the loathed-to-be-repeated age of the Suffragist Era?

What do you think?  Do you feel a need to "control" your body and your hormones? Do you appreciate the new wave of hormone help and "Flo Living" programs popping up?  Because I certainly notice the hormonal changes in my body, and I'd like to think the world doesn't have a problem with them.

xo, Ashley

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

Image by Rose Hyman, 1907

TAGS: CYCLE, HORMONES cache cache


July 26th, 2013

My first gynecologist visit was at my university campus health center. I figured I should probably go see a lady doctor then since that's what people do when they're adults. I was 18, she was an older woman who explained the world of pap smears and prescribed me my first birth control pills. She didn't fully explain how the pills worked and I remember my sister breaking it down for me days later.

I found my second gynecologist after browsing through a long list of doctors on my insurance plan and picking one at random. I didn't necessarily like him but I also didn't dislike him. I was having a bad time with my birth control and he prescribed me 3 different options before I found one that worked for me at the time. I remember asking him if it was okay to take a pill that made me only get a period four times a year, to which he answered that a lot of women were doing it so it was fine. While it was nice not to have a period every month, I still felt a little crazy while on the pill. After a while I didn't feel comfortable taking hormones so switched to another method of birth control.

That's when I found my third gynecologist. I had recently moved to NYC and I hadn't seen a gynecologist in over a year, so I thought it might be a good idea to make sure everything was okay down there. I sent out an email to close friends asking for recommendations. I went to the only one recommended who took my insurance plan. I can't remember why, but I really didn't like him. I think he just had a cold demeanor to him. I once read that doctors who are nice are less likely to be sued by patients. He wasn't mean, but that was when I decided I wanted to have a female doctor. Maybe I'd feel more comfortable that way.

My last gynecologist was referred to me by the best primary care physician I've ever had. I paid a yearly fee to be a part of a membership medical group. Basically a doctors office that treats their patients the way all doctors should but unfortunately don't always do (same day appointments, clean office, phone calls answered within a couple of rings, email communication, and most importantly, someone who remembers your name). I had just started seeing this primary care physician, and weeks later I went to the hospital because of unbearable abdominal pain. I learned that an ovarian cyst the size of a clementine had ruptured on my right ovary. The cyst had been filled with blood which caused pain as my body absorbed it and I also had another one on my left ovary that shrunk and grew with my mesntrual cycle. I needed to see a gynecologist after that, so my primary care doctor referred me to someone who wasn't part of the medical group but whose office worked in the same way. She is the best - nice, warm, and finally someone I feel I could comfortably ask questions about my reproductive health.

What do you look for in an gynecologist? How did you or do you go about finding one? Do you ask your friends or doctor for referrals, or do you just pick someone out of a hat? Are you happy with your gynecologist?

image source

Rubi

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Rubi Jones is a hairstylist also juggling TPS management while living in Paris.

TAGS: GYNECOLOGIST cache cache


July 24th, 2013

Ok, I know, we're talking about another ad for feminine hygiene products (or period products, or menstruation products, or whatever you would like to call them and are not offended by).  Kotex recently came out with the ad above.

Many people are (rightfully) upset by the commercial's insinuation that women should be ashamed of their crotch sweat.  We're still on a mission here to rid the world of menstrual, or any other kind of shame-talk.  But I also understand that real, probably very kind, people work at Kotex, and they make a lot of products that women love and will continue to buy, regardless of shame-inducing commercials.  I worked in advertising in New York City for about eight months, and I would like to break down how commercial-making for large companies works, because then it might be easier to understand why commercials like these are made and how we can keep it from happening again.  I'm no marketing genius (remember, my background is anthropology), but from working in advertising for a short time and having a husband who works in advertising, I've come to understand a bit more about how it works.

Most advertising agency have three "departments" - you have the account managers, who manage timeline, budget and all the nitty-gritty of getting the commercial made - they typically represent the client in most meetings.  Then you have the creatives, who are the ones actually creating taglines, copy, images, and overseeing filming.  Creatives represent the agency and win awards for being awesome and creative (I gather Kotex won't be winning an award any time soon for their crotch sweat commercial). And finally, you have the strategy team, or the brand planners - and this is the team that many people might not know about.  The brand planners spend their time researching consumers (that's you and me) to get a better understanding of consumer attitude towards a particular topic or product.  So the brand planners represent the consumer.  And it's the job of the brand planners to research you and me and then come up with ideas or "platforms" to feed to the creatives so that they can make a commercial out of insights they have gleaned from consumers.  

So what does all of this have to do with a Kotex commercial?  It means that in some research circle somewhere, brand planners heard from consumers (us) that we are embarrassed about crotch sweat.  Or perhaps they heard that consumers use pantyliners while working out to hide crotch sweat. Kotex saw this as an opportunity (everybody's gotta make a living) to market to people who are embarrassed about crotch sweat.  Creatives aren't sitting around thinking they'd like to create shame commercials to get people to buy the product.  They're simply listening to consumers and trying to connect.  Does that make shaming commercials OK? Not necessarily.  But what this means is that consumers (we) need to stop talking about natural female body conditions (sweat or menstruation) like we're ashamed of them.  When we talk shamefully about our bodies, we're essentially begging ad agencies to create shaming commercials for us.  We need to accept our natural bodies.  We need to embrace the fact that we menstruate and express to others that we are OK with it.  That sometimes we leak.  That we can get hormonal.  AND IT'S ALL O.K. 

So, love that crotch sweat, girl, and don't be ashamed of it.

xo, Ashley

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  


TAGS: ADVERTISING, KOTEX, SHAME cache cache


July 23rd, 2013

There are many aspects of parenting that you don’t realize until you’re in the trenches. For me, one of those (rude) awakenings included how to handle my period with small children. I’m not talking about questions from your four year old while you’re sitting on the toilet, about what in the world you’re doing with “that stick." Or the embarrassment of your two-year-old grabbing your tamp bag from your purse in public and throwing the contents all over the floor (although, I get it, Ashley thinks we should be proud). I’m referring more to the emotional roller coaster of it all. Fitting your babies into the monthly pre-menstrual period equation.  

I am the mother of two young children under five and have been first shocked, and then guilt-ridden, and now (almost) accepting, as I've witnessed the affect my hormones have on my feelings towards my children.  I have dealt with hormonal mood swings in some form since (of course) as long as I've had a period, but the guilt I feel for it didn't set in until having kids.  For about three weeks out of the month, I can’t get enough of them.  Then, somewhere around day 21, it all starts to fly out the window and I find myself more and more impatient, wanting more breaks, and I turn into a yelling maniac.  This is not something I am proud of.  In fact, I carry around a lot of remorse for it. I feel so utterly unlike myself . And then my period starts and it seems as though my body does a detox of all of the nastiness I’ve been holding inside. At first I found it frustrating to be "at the mercy" of my hormones, to have to live with the ever changing condition of it all. It’s hard to feel so in love with motherhood one week and the next feel so very aggravated and trapped by it. 

But I'm coming to terms with it and learning how to handle it better.  And I believe that awareness is important. Once I can acknowledge that I experience hormonal changes and have these feelings, it becomes much easier to strategize ways to help myself (and therefore my kids) during the rougher premenstrual days. Everyone has different family situations - some of you may be single parenting, some working moms, some stay-at-home.  But here are a few tips that I've found help me to be a less-stressed Mommy as I’m preparing for my period: 

  1. Vegetate, Y'all. It might be a good time to let your kids watch more Netflix than usual (don't judge) or spend more time lying on the couch with a good book or magazine.
  2. Let Your Spouse or Partner Help. Make sure your spouse knows what week it is so that they know to be particularly attentive to the children when they're at home. 
  3. Time Off. Don't feel the need to commit to anything big that week. Really. Say no because of your period.  
  4. Support System. Surround yourself with family and friends who can help keep things in perspective, especially with the kids. Play dates at the park while kids run wild and free and you talk with your girlfriends are especially fabulous during this time
  5. SLEEP. Get more sleep and make sure kids are in bed maybe even a bit early that week.
  6. Jam. Play music more often; it makes everyone happier. 
  7. Time Out. If you start feeling really crazed, give yourself a time out in your room. Try to take some calming deep breaths. Especially great if you take a cup of tea with you.
  8. Long showers.  It might not be good for the environment to do this every day, but every once in a while, when mama needs it, it's OK.
  9. Mantras. I often hear myself saying, “It’s not a big deal, Allison” or some other phrase that helps me wind down. 
  10. Exercise. Go to the gym and work out - drop the kids off at the free child watch (with trusted helpers) while you work out those hormones.  If you hate gyms or can't afford one, go for a walk with the kids.  Or a run alone outside. Do jumping jacks.  Anything.  It helps.
  11. Let your kids know. Sure, they’re small, but they understand more than you might think. Make them aware that you're having a particularly hard time keeping patience.  More often than not, my four-year-old especially is able to show a surprising amount of compassion.  She typically tries harder to help me out during those days.

Do you have a hard time parenting while premenstrual?  For more tips and stories check here and here.

-Allison S.

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Allison Scoville is (TPS cofounder) Ashley's twin and mother of two living in Ohio.  She has a background in political science, and when she's not chasing her kids she enjoys trying new recipes, reading and running.  

Crazy Cassatt collage by Ashley Seil Smith.

TAGS: PARENTING, PMS, TIPS cache cache


July 19th, 2013

This fake Russian Tampax ad has made its rounds on the internet over the last month. In case you haven't seen it yet, you can watch it above. It shows a woman swimming at the beach who is suddenly violently attacked by a shark, followed by the tagline, "Tampax, now leak-proof." I think a lot of people were relieved to find out it wasn't a real ad - it was actually a spoof from Movie 43, a movie about which the Chicago Sun Times said, "You'll be filled with regret five minutes into this atrocity."

Interestingly and disturbingly enough though, this Tampax print ad, in which a woman swimming in the ocean is surrounded by pretty scary-looking sharks, is real. We've talked about the feminine hygiene industry capitalizing on and inducing women's fear about leakage before. Seeing the fake ad and real one encourages me to try to keep changing the conversation surrounding menstruation.  On the other hand, I realize Tampax might just be going for humor, so is it really a big deal?

What do you think about these ads? Both fake and real? Do either make you laugh?  Do you see a need to change the way we talk about periods?

xo, Rubi

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Rubi Jones is a hairstylist also juggling TPS management while living in Paris.

TAGS: ADVERTISING, BLOOD, LEAKAGE cache cache


July 17th, 2013

We are big fans of INdiscreet tampon + pad cozies. They come with different sayings like, "Oh Bloody Hell", "Vampire Tea Bags" (one of our personal favorites), "Cotton Ponies", "Don't Look in Here", "Shark Week" etc. Marigold, the designer says: "Why be discreet? Maybe if everybody knows you're on your period, they'll leave you alone!"

We like the humor this gives to something that can sometimes be a little embarrassing for women. What do you think of them?

p.s. Our launch party goers got a cozie in their goodie bag.

TAGS: CASE, PADS, TAMPONS cache cache


July 15th, 2013

"Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself." - Roseanne Barr

Thank you for the beautiful artwork Brittany Watson Jepsen!

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Check out Brittany's blog, and shop.

TAGS: ART cache cache


July 12th, 2013

Malala Yousafzai gave an inspirational speech at the United Nations this Friday, the day of her 16th birthday.  In case you haven't heard it yet, we encourage you to take the time to do so and share it with others.
"One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution." - Malala Yousafzai

TAGS: EDUCATION cache cache


July 10th, 2013

 

This Periods Around the World post is from Metropolisweb.tv and their highlight on menstruation in Daba, Kenya.  Beautiful women facing a deeply ingrained cultural taboo.  The question is, how you go about breaking down taboos while still maintaining cultural integrity?  As an outsider, how do you "modernize" a culture's perception of health issues while also respecting them?  The best kind of change is when it can happen from the inside through education and empowerement, wouldn't you say?

Thanks to Metropolis TV for the source.

TAGS: DABA, KENYA, TABOO cache cache


July 8th, 2013


Remember our post on how to remove period stains from panties? Well, we are so excited to announce that we now carry Ruby's Red Wash a product made especially for removing period stains. We spoke to Carolyn, the owner of Ruby's about cats, periods and why she made this product. We really enjoying getting to know her a little better and we are sure you will too.

"Ruby's Red Wash is meant to be a gift to all those who bleed. If Ruby's allows women to worry about one less thing in the world (what to do with those stained undies- and without shame) then my goal has been accomplished." - Carolyn

The Period Store: Tell us about yourself.
Carolyn - Ruby's Red Wash: I live with my husband, two rescue dogs and multiple rescue cats in Pennsylvania. Before finishing my Ph.D. I started volunteering for a local spay/neuter group for stray and feral cats and through my time there discovered a terrible case of animal abuse (primarily cats) which no one including local humane officers would do anything about. I wound up investigating the place (with three other women) and taking the collected evidence across the state to an organization which would do something. In March of 2008, the place was shut down and more than 680 cats and other animals were rescued. It's a long and complicated story but along with starting this business, I've spent the last five years helping the surviving cats while they were still in custody and then adopting them out once they were healed and ready for new homes. I've also been healing from the trauma of being involved and investigating and I learned more than I ever wanted about animal victimization and the politics involved. In a way, however, I see both the development and marketing of Ruby's Red Wash and my work with animals as essentially the same. Both have to do with the liberating the mistreated, the forgotten, the oppressed.

TPS: How did Ruby's Red Wash come about?
Ruby's Red Wash: Ruby's Red Wash is a product of my research and dissertation for my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The long, laborious, academic title is 'The Bloody Truth: A Psychological and Cultural Study of Menstruation as Lived and Experienced by Women." In that research I talked with individual women about their experiences of bleeding and ultimately compared and contrasted those experiences and meanings with the meanings and interpretations of menstruation found in the culture, such as advertising, television and language.
Apart from many other meanings I found in my research, I realized that one big way in which women and menstruation are still not fully acknowledged is concretely through truly helpful products. The fact that, at the time, I could find no widely marketed, specialized product to help women rid their clothes and bed linens of blood stains speaks volumes. The message from the culture was and still is that women should keep their periods a shameful secret, and spend their money on fear-mongering products to "prevent leaks" and odors. To counter this and to try to help as many women as possible, my thought was, how about a non-shaming product which actually helps women in a practical way to clean their underwear and clothes from inevitable blood leaks from menstruation? Women already have the expense of menstruation (which men don't have) and then on top of that earn less on the dollar that men earn. Menstruation, then, is extremely expensive, and it is terribly unfair that there have been no products that address the real issues of bleeding (can be messy and can ruin clothing, sheets and mattresses, etc.). Ruby's Red Wash aims to erase the inconvenient and expensive blood stains while bypassing the usual cultural shame surrounding menstrual products. A blood stain is what it is and if you want to get it out, here's a way!

TPS: What is Ruby's Red Wash and how should it be used?
Ruby's Red Wash: Ruby's is made of live bacterial cultures which are activated and 'eats' the protein of the blood when it comes in contact with a blood stain. Those cultures are combined with an alcohol-based surfactant or detergent (which keeps the stain from redepositing on the fabric) along with natural and synthetic essential oils for fragrance. Ruby's is non-toxic, contains no harsh chemicals, is animal product and cruelty free and also biodegradable and therefore eco-friendly. You can either wait until laundry day to wash your undies with Ruby's (throw the garment with the in-tact stain in the basket) or you can wash out the stain right away. In either case, rinse the stain with cool water as much as possible and then immerse the stained portion of the garment in Ruby's Red Wash either in a sink or basin. Pour about a capful (for most stains) of Ruby's right on the stain and then let the solution do the work. Most stains disappear in a matter of minutes but depending on the garment and the age of the stain, you may need to let it soak - even for up to a day or two. Just remember not to combine Ruby's with any other cleaning agent and don't run an untreated stain through the dryer first because that pretty much "bakes" the stain in and then even Ruby's can't be guaranteed to help it.
 
TPS: Hows your period?
Ruby's Red Wash:
I am happy to say that my period is doing just fine. Like many aspects of myself, like my hair or my hips, some days I am pleased with it and some days I do find it a darn nuisance. In the end, however, my period is a part of me and my existence. I am starting to wind down and am entering a peri-menopausal stage, so I am preparing to say goodbye to that phase of my life but at the same time, I'm preparing to greet to a whole new phase with all new changes. Sometimes that is a drag and sometimes it is not. One thing's for sure, years of menstruating has prepared me to accept all kinds of changes with my body and life.

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Thank you Carolyn!

Include a bottle of Ruby's Red Wash in your next month's package.

TAGS: STAINS cache cache


July 3rd, 2013

We're starting a series on the history of menstruation, and what better place to start than prehistory, a time without written language?  Have anything to add?  We're happy to hear from you in the comments below or at info[at]theperiodstore.com.

I lived in India for a short time, in a small rural village without running water, convenient waste management or toilet paper.  I used a squatter toilet for four months and while I could go on about the benefits of using water and your hand to clean yourself instead of just dry toilet paper, the one thing I dreaded about the whole experience was my period.  Without the convenience of running water, showers and easy waste disposal (again, toilet paper clogged the delicate sewage system) the task of menstrual hygiene seemed downright miserable.  I made it work then, as thousands of women around the world do, but my experience left me wondering how on earth women in history dealt with their periods. What did women do without the modern conveniences afforded to most who read this blog?

It's hard to know exactly what women used before written history, but it is believed that women experienced their periods less frequently due to high stress, shorter life span and more frequent pregnancies.  The average age for menarche (the beginning of a period) was also much later than today's average of roughly twelve.  While a woman in modern industrialized societies will menstruate approximately 450 times in her life, the prehistoric woman menstruated only 50 times.

How were women treated while menstruating?  Though it is commonly believed that menstruation was considered taboo in many cultures, this might not actually be the case.  Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb in their 1986 book, Blood Magic, write,

"Many menstrual taboos, rather than protecting society from a universally ascribed female evil, explicitly protect the perceived creative spirituality of menstruous women from the influence of others in a more neutral state, as well as protecting the latter in turn from the potent, positive spiritual force ascribed to such women."

In other words, women in prehistoric times may have actually been valued more because of the mystery and power attributed to their menstrual cycles.  If you think about it, all prehistoric people may have understood was that in the presence of blood there was no child, and without blood woman had the ability to create a new being.  And this perceived creative spirit remains true in many cultures today - there is a belief even in modern psychology that a woman during menstruation is in her most creative element.

But these women still bled!  And we all know that blood has to go somewhere, so what did they do?  It is possible that women used natural materials such as grass, moss, wool, animal skin, hair and sponge to absorb menstrual blood.  They may have also used woven materials such as rags tied around their bodies to trap blood.  The blood itself may have been considered pure and the time of menstruation was known as of a time of cleansing.  

A far cry from the ways in which we consider menstruation today?  For some, possibly, but it's also interesting to see the varied attitudes with which both women and men approach menstruation today.  There are those out there who embrace it wholeheartedly and those who would rather cease menstruating altogether.  And it is likely that these varied responses to menstruation existed even in prehistoric times.  

What do you think - are you a lover or a hater?  Or somewhere in between?

Ashley

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Ashley Seil Smith has a background in Anthropology and is currently earning her MFA in Illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.  She's not very good at juggling multiple things at once, but still finds herself signing up for half marathons while trying to run TPS and go to school.  

For sources see this biblio and MUM. Venus illustration by me.


TAGS: BLOOD MAGIC, INDIA, PREHISTORY cache cache