3 Witchy Tea Recipes to Try This Halloween

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It’s Halloween, and if you already tackled your spooky plans this weekend, chances are you’re staying in and giving out candy, but your mood might be a little weird and for good reason. According to Sara Coughlin in Refinery 29,

“The moon will be in Pisces […] which will make us a little more prone to daydreams and flights of fancy. In the true spirit of Halloween, you might even wish to become someone else entirely.”

That being said, you’re probably feeling pretty magical, right now whether you’re going out in costumes tonight or not. With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to have tea tonight, which made me think of witches. So, I looked up some of the best witchy tea recipes I could find. Here are 3 of the best ones.

Caveat: If you have concerns or allergies, please talk to your doctor about these teas. I am NOT giving health advice. I tried my best to pick recipes with ingredients I recognize so I could in good faith recommend them. But, that being said, I am not an expert. I really just spent some time on google this afternoon for a Halloween themed post. 

1. For Safe and Sweet Dreams

Here is a recipe via Sanctuary to help water types, in particular, have a good Halloween night. They also have great recommendations for rituals for other signs to do as well, but personally, this recipe sounds amazing:

Peppermint for protection

 

Lavender for peace

 

Mugwort for safe dreaming

 

Honey to sweeten your dreams

 

Mugwort is bitter; sweeten the tea with honey. Combine these herbs – if fresh, a handful of each. If dried, one tablespoon. Bring water to the bill and pour over the herbs, steeping for thirteen minutes. Strain into a cup and add a spoonful of honey. Stir counterclockwise and speak into the cup a sincere prayer for protection, asking that as you sleep this night you be kept safe from all harm.

You may drink at your altar, in your bedroom, or in a safe and comfortable place. Focus on the herbs in the tea and thank them with all your heart for giving you their help and protection. Feel the gratitude and warmth in your heart.

2. Build-Your-Own

As Cecilia says in her run-down on Autostraddle, recapping their queer astrological and Wiccan retreat,

“One of the most exciting parts of magic is experimenting with different magical elements and combining them into one strong and specific spell. A great entry-level way to practice this skill is by making spell tea! If you know the magical qualities of different elements, you can easily create your own unique tea blend that can be charged for very specific magical desires.”

According to her guide, you can use whatever tea you like as your base: green, black, rooibos, or anything you have, and then, add these accompanying ingredients to help focus it more on your sign or specific needs:

Lavender – Mercury (Virgo), Lavender is great for spell work related to finding peace of mind, cleansing, healing, dream fulfillment, and revealing the truth. Also, for what it’s worth, lavender has a strong traditional association to love magic.

 

Peppermint – Mercury (Gemini) This element provides clarity to possibilities that you’re exploring. It can help you find the answers to burning questions, like: which queer city should I move to? Which hobby fills me with the most wonder and curiosity? Adding peppermint to your spell tea may help you find the insight to organize the options in your life.

 

Cinnamon – Uranus (Aquarius) Sometimes you need the strength to revolutionize your life and discard old habits that aren’t needed anymore for your growth. In these moments, use cinnamon in spells for passion, independence, brilliance, creative projects, community building, or bringing issues to a quick resolution. Also, Uranus is associated with queerness, so throwing a dash of cinnamon in a queer relationship spell certainly couldn’t hurt.

 

Licorice Root – Venus (Libra) This element is associated with Venus, the planet that rules connections that we make with others – friendships, partners, family members, co-workers, even pets. Licorice root can be used to attract any sort of good, healthy, mutually beneficial kind of relationship into your life. It can also be used for mediating arguments or finding harmony in any existing relationships.

 

Forget-Me-Not – Neptune (Pisces) You can use this flower for any spells connected to fulfilling your dreams, opening your heart, accepting your emotions, finding inspiration in artistic projects, feeling connection to something beautiful, or finding beauty in solitude.

 

Amaranth – Saturn (Capricorn) In spell work, amaranth provides strength, stability, and protection. It can help you develop stronger self-control, commit to work projects, get the dream job, or help with anything else that builds positive structures to hold your life together.

 

Rose – Venus (Taurus) Rose can invite simple, beautiful moments of reflection into your life when it feels too chaotic. It can help you make room for simplicity in your life. Roses also can attract someone who has the ability to offer you good sensual, healing sex. It also brings out your strength as a partner, helping you be more affectionate and loving.

 

Orange Peel – Sun (Leo) Orange peel is great for spell work if you’re feeling lost lately, like you need to connect with an inner spark that allows you to be your best self. It can help you connect to joy and charm, and can also help you gain recognition for your accomplishments.

 

Ginger – Mars (Aries) The planet Mars rules our ability to defend ourselves, so it’s great to use in spell work for protection. It’s also what makes us feel energized, or feel really turned on, or take risks, or pursue our passions. Any of these focuses can be helped by using Ginger in spell work — especially sex magic!

 

Yerba Mate – Jupiter (Sagittarius) Yerba Mate is technically a tea base, but it can definitely be used magically! It is caffeinated, but the caffeination feels less jittery than coffee and more energized and focused. Yerba Mate magic can make us feel confident, generous, expansive, and lucky. It’s great to use if you want to connect with optimism and fun in your life — or even adventures involving travel!

 

Jasmine — Pluto (Scorpio) The planet Pluto deals with some of the scarier things in life, like intense transformation and healing through pain. If you have been profoundly injured, Jasmine could be used in spell work to help turn your wounds into wisdom. If you’re in need of a total self-transformation, this could also support that.

 

Chamomile – Moon (Cancer) This element helps us feel safe and at home and comfortable with our inner life. Chamomile is great to drink at home to recharge, or to find a queer chosen family, to receive the care that you need, or to learn how to care for yourself.

While you drink your desired combination, she advises thinking about your intentions to make the strength of these ingredients work.

3. Boost Productivi-Tea

As a theatre artist and a writer, boosting productivity and creativity is important to me. That’s why I love this recipe via HoneyCoyote, AND it actually contains ingredients you already have in your kitchen:

Productivi-Tea

a simple tea for aiding in being productive and creative with your work. or help with mental fatigue and to boost your mental capacity on a stressful day when you have tons of work to do.

Materials

  • 3 parts Black Tea
  • 1 part Rosemary
  • 1 part Basil
  • 1 part Peppermint  

Place all herbs in a tea ball,

put in your favorite mug, and add boiling water.

Steep this brew for about 10 minutes.

Remove tea ball and sweeten to taste

Have Other Witchy Tea Ideas?

Let us know! While I love witch and astrological culture, I really don’t know a lot about it other than the witch books when I was at my Harry Potter fangirl PEAK (12-year-old Katy was on a roleplaying Quidditch team). We’d love to hear more about it. Let us know your recipes in the comments or shares!

5 Characters I Hope To See in the Hellboy Reboot

As you may already know, there is a Hellboy reboot in the works, featuring everyone’s favorite detective from Stranger Things’, David Harbour. As Mike Mignola, the creator of the graphic novels, says in The Verge, this time around it will have an R-rating, leaning in the,

“horror direction, more so than the fantasy direction del Toro was doing. When Neil came on, we decided to go for an R rating, so he doesn’t have his hands tied, and so he can go as dark and as tough as he wants to go. I was a fan of his, and when he came onboard, I thought it was terrific: now it’s really going to be an action-horror film.”

While there are currently not a ton of details, there are so many characters I’m looking forward to seeing in this reboot. As much as I love Guillermo Del Toro, who really introduced me to Hellboy, when I started reading the comics I saw so many amazing characters and great lore the films weren’t tapping into. In fact, in 2014 or 2015, when I was still working at a movie theatre, I was doing research with a friend on actually making a Hellboy 3 fan-series on Youtube. We didn’t get very far, but I still have a soft spot for all the characters I was interested in including. With that in mind, here are 5 characters I hope to see in the reboot.

1. Baba Yaga

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via Nerdist

One of my favorite things about starting the series was the degree of Russian mythology that was infused throughout it. Throughout Wake the Devil and Darkness Calls, she serves as a major player, aligning with Rasputin. She’s just a cool and interesting villain. As Time Magazine explains,

“In some old Slavic accounts, Baba Yaga is a wizened hag who rides in a floating mortar that is directed in flight by its pestle. In other Russian tales, she lives in a hut in the woods ringed by a fence of skulls and elevated on a pair of chicken legs. In almost all versions, Baba Yaga is meant to be very, very scary — the creature best suited to frighten ill-behaved children since, according to legend, she has a habit of kidnapping and eating them.”

In addition, she brings with her all of the fairies and just really good lore. I’d love to see Hellboy squaring off against her. Can you imagine? I hope she beats him up with a Pestle.

2. Hecate

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via Multiversity Comics

Like okay, I know, another mythological witch? But Hellboy‘s Hecate is so much more than the weird plot device you see her as in Macbeth— she is a force to be reckoned with. Hecate, no matter what story she is placed in, is more than a witch but is even worshipped as a goddess. As the dictionary defines her, she is,

a goddess of the earth and Hades,

associated with sorcery, hounds, and crossroads.”

Especially because Hellboy deals so much with the idea of apocalypse and the idea that Hellboy himself could bring it about, she’s a great villain, as an embodiment of hell and the crossroads, for him to try and defeat.

In the comics, even when he defeats her, she attaches herself into a man’s soul, and then when he dies, she takes over AN IRON MAIDEN, crushes a female nazi inside it, and proceeds to beat the sh*t out of Hellboy as a MAGICAL IRON MAIDEN. I’d love to see all of that play out. A giant and transforming iron maiden or just Hecate in her normal form would be amazing.

3. Roger the Homunculus

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via Multiversity Comics

Honestly, I’m a little surprised the Guillermo Del Toro movies didn’t have much of Roger because a homunculus kind of seems like his thing. It’s the type of creature that could be super creepy, artsy, and fantastical, which is pretty much his aesthetic. One of the reasons I fell in love with Hellboy is the practical effects and puppetry, so it’s kind of surprising a puppet homunculus didn’t happen. While there was a glimpse of a statue of him, it would have been nice to have more.

In addition, just going into the witchcraft necessary and ideas around Homunculi would just be really cool.

Either way though, Roger the Homunculus, was actually a big part of the gang in the comics and actually teamed up with Abe a lot. Also, the idea of being made for a purpose and not wanting to fulfill it is a big theme in Hellboy that would be cool to play into.

4. Dr. Kate Corrigan

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via austin eustice

A professor in Folklore and SUPER competent, as well as one of Hellboy’s closest friends, I would love to see her in the franchise again, even as Director of Field Operations for BPRD.

When I started reading about her in the comics, I loved how as an academic, she was an equal to Hellboy. Her knowledge and expertise helped as much as his brawn. Also, she helped explain some of the lore I loved.

If I had gone through with that fan series, I actually would have wanted to play her. I love the fact that they have a great friendship and would be a great addition to the gang.

5. THAT Gorilla

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via IGN

Is there a more iconic image than Hellboy fighting a Gorilla with bolts sticking out of it? Just for an amazing fight scene, this gorilla would be a great addition to the movie. Maybe it would be a waste of CGI, but it would just be a great fight scene with an iconic scene from the comics. In addition, it gives a chance to see Herman von Klempt’s head in a jar and play into the Nazi Ragna Rok mad scientist storyline even more.

In addition, while I didn’t get very far in my abandoned Hellboy 3 fan project, the only thing that was actually set in stone was to have a huge Hellboy and Gorilla battle. So honestly, that’s just for me.

Those are just a couple of my favorites! Who do you hope to see in the new Hellboy? Comment or share with your favorite characters!

🎮 Game Picks: Cute and Queer 🎮

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It can be hard to find good, queer visual novels. This March, I found out about this game jam on Itch.io called #ResistJam. Partnered with IndieCade, the goal of the jam was to resist authoritarianism in all forms. What made it different though, was that it featured workshops and talks on youtube about making inclusive and innovative games. Because of that, I found out about Queerly Represent Me, which is a site that catalogs every game that has queer representation. While I made a simple twine about self-care and drinking tea, a lot of people involved in the jam made a lot of cool and innovative games that involved strong queer representation. Because of that, when I’m looking for a cool and interesting story motivated game, I try to find games with the best representation possible. I like to start my search on Itch.io. There are a lot of creators on there and I love that there’s a lot of experimentation and bolder use of game mechanics that I see in other places.

That’s how I ended up on Itch.io last night. I’m in love with VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action because of the relaxing quality of the game, the strength of the narrative, and the amazing art. In the same vein, I was looking for some cute, female-protagonist-driven, and queer-if-possible games— Itch.io delivered. Maybe it’s because of the ongoing Yuri Game Jam, but when I logged in again, I’ve noticed a lot more games in that niche. Last night, I managed to play two games: Butterfly Soup and Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival and I loved them. That’s why they’re my two must-play game picks this week. Short, sweet, and queer— here’s a mini-review for each of them.

NOTE: Both of these games are FREE, but if you do pay a recommended donation you can get a PDF of art from the games and support the artists! 

Butterfly Soup

via Brianna Lei

If you’ve been following my writing or my twitter for any amount of time, you probably know that one of my most rant-able subjects is Asian Representation in the media. From Tilda Swinton playing “The Ancient One” to how important Fresh Off the Boat is in terms of representation, ranting about yellow-face is what I’m passionate about. One of the best things about this game was that every single member of the characters was Asian and at least 3 out of the 4 main characters are queer. On top of that, there was the innovative use of group chats and text messaging, amazing art, and sharp writing to make this a great experience. Overall it is sweet, though there are some dark themes dealing with verbal and un-seen physical abuse from parents. There were so many references to memes, and this was just a very well written and interesting story.

Plus, you can expect screencaps like this:

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That being said, if you’re looking for multiple endings or the ability to romance multiple characters, this isn’t that kind of game. It is narrative, but the choices you make moreso changes up the dialogue and jokes that are made, rather than the outcome. It’s more novel than choose-your-own-adventure and frankly, that’s fine with me.  In fact, I think the story is great fodder for a film adaptation in its future. Overall, it’s sharp, with great storytelling, and a fun and meme-y way back to high school.

Mermaid Splash Passion Festival

via Sofdelux Studio

Mermaid Splash: Passion Festival is just sweet— plain and simple. You play as Cici, a mermaid that just needs to figure out what skill she needs to hone and find her passion in life, but can still make time to woo other mermaids on the weekends. The game starts with an all too familiar crisis: Cici has a lot of hobbies but she’s not GREAT at any of them. She’s at a point in her life where she needs to decide what to be an expert in. As someone that loves writing, acting, directing, art, and that picks up new hobbies all the time—I know that feeling. I was also lucky enough to go to a college where I could be surrounded by women that in an environment where we could support each other. That being said, the subject of the game really resonated with me. Choosing between farming, art, dancing, and fighting, Cici works not only on her own skills but supporting other women with their passions.

It also provides something near and dear to my heart, scheduling your time wisely:

 

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The art style is gorgeous and it’s about women empowering other women, so it’s an instant favorite for me. Honing Cici’s skills and getting her ready for the passion festival, while hanging out with each of the other women is definitely way faster that butterfly soup. While it takes probably 15 minutes to get through the whole game, there are 23 endings you could possibly have! I had a great time choosing different skills and different characters to woo, spanning ages from 24-43 and even different mermaid types like a shark, angler fish, cuttlefish, and sea slug.

If you want to explore lots of different endings and look at adorable art, with a POC queer protagonist, this game is perfect. Plus: as you play, she unlocks themed outfits!

💖Those are my picks! Keep an eye on us for more Game Reviews and Suggestions! 💖

Prime B1tches: Living the Remote Life

┏┓
┃┃╱╲ in
┃╱╱╲╲ this
╱╱╭╮╲╲house
▔▏┗┛▕▔ we
╱▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔╲
order a lot of sh*t on Amazon Prime
╱╱┏┳┓╭╮┏┳┓ ╲╲
▔▏┗┻┛┃┃┗┻┛▕▔

That’s right. Every week the mailman knocks on the door with piles and piles of boxes. This is mostly because not only are we transportationally challenged and work from home but because our mom is currently wheelchair bound, it’s a great shopping solution for all parties involved.

~  W e ‘ r e   P r 1 m e   B i t c h e s  ~

That’s why I wanted to experiment with the Amazon Affiliate Program with a lot of different blog posts. Essentially, this is part of a series of sponsored posts where we do Amazon supply lists to give you tips and insight, this week we’re looking into essential supplies for working from home. Working from home can also be very lonely, messy, and mess with your brain a little. Actually, my favorite depiction is this:

 

via Hannah Hillam

It’s actually a pretty accurate depiction of me, right now, writing this blog post. So with that in mind, here are 5 recommendations from me to help your work-from-home experience.

1. Cafe Bustelo

via HYESU LEE on Behance

I remember the day I first saw it— years ago when I used to wander aimlessly around Target for hours killing time before and after my movie theatre shifts, I saw this glass bottle on the top shelf:

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via Target

I took it home with me and it’s been one of my favorite things ever since. Most instant coffees, while they do have value, they make you feel a little sad. There’s something missing in the flavor or the panache or something, but Cafe Bustelo Instananeo is simply perfect. I gave it up because I didn’t need to be that keyed up working at a movie theatre thinking about the meaning of life, but now that I’m working from home, it’s exactly the afternoon pickup I need. Now, I don’t get it from Target, I get it from Amazon (Affiliate Link). Whether for days, I can’t bring myself to make a pot of coffee or for a little lift in the afternoon, it’s perfect for getting through deadlines. Just a spoonful of it, plus some honey and half and half, it’s a creamy and razor-sharp way to get moving.

2. Herbal Tea

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Yes, there are a lot of beverages on my freelance must-haves. I’ve always been into black tea, but when I started working at an internship at Atlantic BT, I started having a herbal tea in the afternoon when I got my afternoon mental-block. I’d just walk to the break room, grab a peppermint or green, and be able to step back from the research of whatever I was trying to write.

When I started working remotely and getting into being a Prime B1tch, I started ordering herbal tea as a way to take a break. Especially if you’re pounding caffeine, herbal tea is actually a great way to hydrate and strengthen your focus.

Here are some of my top picks (Affiliate Links):

  • Turmeric Ginger Tea–  I started picking this up because I not only work as a writer, but I also teach theatre classes to children. As I started to do it more, I noticed I kept getting infected with some funk. To boost my immune system, I started drinking Turmeric Ginger Tea. Not only does it help keep me moderately healthy, but it also is a stomach settling and tasty hot tea.
  • Lemon Ginger Probiotic Tea – This is definitely one of Sarah’s favorites. It’s a milder stomach settling tea that is great if you’re looking for probiotic benefits. The mild taste is also a great, happy pick-me-up for hard afternoons.
  • Get Some Dank Bigelow Tea-  I know not everyone is into Bigelow teas but I am. While I admit they don’t have the best teabags for steeping, they have some great herbal teas that are individually packaged so they don’t lose flavor.  In particular, I love Sweet Dreams tea any time of the day.

Of course, those are just a couple teas you can try. Either way, I would recommend picking the right flavors and kinds for you.

3. Give Yourself a Real Set Up

via Giphy

Just like the herbal teas, I can blame Atlantic BT for the dual monitor life. Here’s what our office looks like:

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Plucky Media                                                                                                                  While you might be thinking,

“Hey, I don’t need to feel like a space captain to get my work done”

It actually really helps to be able to separate your work out and use two monitors at the same time. If you work from home, it CHANGES THE GAME. Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Monitor– That’s the basic thing. I’m not saying you need the biggest one in the world, the one I’m using right now is this one, but there are tons you can choose from (Affiliate Link). Sarah actually uses the monitor left over from the family computer our family bought when we were in elementary school. It’s whatever is in your budget and whatever works.
  • Dongle + VGA Cable- To make the monitor a part of your laptop, you’re going to need to use a VGA adapter and probably a dongle. I actually use the same dongle (Affiliate Link) as I used on my MacBook Air as on my current Google Pixel. Your monitor probably comes with one, but if you need a cable, a standard VGA cable (Affiliate Link) should be fine.
  • Wireless Mouse and Wired/Bluetooth Keyboard – It can be super annoying to use the keyboard and track pad when you have two monitors. That’s why I definitely recommend getting a wireless mouse and keyboard. I use a Logitech Mouse (Affiliate Link) and a USB keyboard. While Sarah uses a wired Apple Keyboard (Affiliate Link), I’m really happy with my Light Up Gaming Keyboard (Affiliate Link).

Those are just a couple of things that can help you technology wise when comes to working from home.

4. Bluetooth it Up!

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Pictured (From left to right): Molly Riddick as “Lil’Bitch”, Nicole Benjamin as “Cunt”, and the Bluetooth speaker

One other thing that can help you tech wise is by making sure you have the music setup you need. One item, that we actually bought for our production of The Amazing Cunt and Lil’Bitch Take Your City, is our stand-up and light up Bluetooth Speaker (Affiliate Link). It’s great not only for blasting the Steven Universe soundtrack, but for playing video game stream audio, and any other background-noise needs you have.

If you need headphones, I also definitely recommend taking a look at some great Bluetooth Headphones (Affiliate Link). Cords aren’t a big deal, but it’s great to get them out of the way and have room for movement.

5. A GOOD Chair

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This might be the most important thing. For almost my whole year of working from home, I was using really bad chairs. From the short kitchen chair I was using to the bench I was sitting on for months, I started to notice a TON of back pain. While doing yoga videos every once in a while helped, I knew I had to make a change.

I recently invested in a rolling office chair and it really helped. While I still have some back pain from doing a mostly sitting job, it’s helped a lot. I got this one (Affiliate Link), and it’s great, but you know, also consider your own budget. Sarah recently just swapped out her wooden chair for an armchair in the living room and that’s working for her. It’s important to think about your health while working from home and prioritizing what your body needs.

Need More Tips?

While we do a lot of pop culture criticism on here, we’re also passionate about remote working and self-care. As Prime B1tches, we are going to be experimenting more with Affiliate Amazon content to see if it’s a viable income stream. Let us know if you liked this kind of comment with a share or a like or you can even comment below. This is just something we’re trying out. I tried to make this as personable as possible so even if you don’t click the link, you got some tips on the process.

 

The Most 🔥Fire🔥 Emmy’s Tweets From Last Night

The 69th Emmy awards were last night and like any well-adjusted millennial, I spent the whole time on twitter. While I was live-tweeting the event for the Plucky Media twitter, I saw some amazing tweets. In case you missed out on any of the action, here are 10 🔥Fire🔥 Emmy’s tweets from last night.

1.☕ Straight Up Tea on the Industry☕

2. Remembering That Major Height Difference

3.🗣RIZZZZZZZZZZZ AHMED

4. HA HA HA SEAN SPICER, YEAH NORMALIZING THAT IS FUNNY

5. Sisterhoooooooood

6. Issa Rae KILLING It

7. EVERYTHING LENA WAITHE

8. Nicole Kidman Getting Real About Domestic Violence

9. RuPaul was ROBBED but Look at This QUEEN

10. OPRAAAAH

Want More 🔥 Tweets?

We have all the tweets we did last night on this Storify if you want to check out all the good stuff. If you wanna keep up with our twitter, don’t hesitate to give us a follow, especially because that way you’ll never miss a post.

A Note: We know that content organizations using tweets of other people as a way to make money on other people’s work is pretty much awful. It’s standard practice and we know tweeting is unpaid work. At the same time, we also love to celebrate voices that need to be amplified and twitter is an integral part of the experience and we wanted to share these. Right now, Plucky Media has nothing in the bank, but we don’t want that to be forever. After paying our contributors, the next step is definitely if we do tweet dumps like this is to pay authors for the tweets we post.

If you want to support that future, don’t hesitate to drop us a tip! 

Where Has My South Park Gone?

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South Park has always been my guilty pleasure. When I couldn’t count on anything else, I could just go on Hulu, pick a random episode and actually enjoy myself. When I wasn’t watching The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Daily Show, or The Colbert Report, Sarah and I spent our afternoons pulled up to our desktop computer binging through all of the South Park episodes the Comedy Central website had to offer. The past two seasons, the show was actually on to something. Season 19 was the smartest season of the show to date, actually taking down how “activism” and advertising tie together. Going further, Season 20’s look at Member Berries and the power of nostalgia, was actually going somewhere really cool until the show imploded from the Trump upset. Last season, there were a lot of brilliant ideas being thrown out, and even interesting commentary about how internet trolls operate. As Matt Miller puts it in Esquire, 

“You have to give Parker and Stone credit for trying to serialize Season 20 amid the most unpredictable news cycle in recent memory. But it just didn’t work. Ideas were started and abandoned. Story lines fizzled out (What happened to the gentlemen’s club? What exactly happened with the Member Berries?). The stories that were completed either made no sense or seemed like they were forced together, as if Parker and Stone tried to shove a puzzle piece into the wrong spot. (Why was SpaceX involved? What were they trying to say with Cartman’s girlfriend? What was the deal with Star Wars and J.J. Abrams?) It was a season of half-thoughts and glimmers of brilliance that never amounted to anything.”

With the end-of-season title, “The End of Serialization as We Know It”, there was a lot to expect from the premiere of Season 21. It was clear that they were going to give up the serialization experiment. No more interconnectivity of episodes, no big message, but that never stopped South Park before. Even before serialization, they’ve been able to tackle issues like buyouts and panic from the recession in Margaritaville and the trend of handheld camera horror movies in Pandemic Part 1 and Pandemic Part 2. So there was a lot to expect from a show that is always able to capitalize on trends and critique the world we live in, right?

Apparently not. Because last night, we got a South Park episode empty of any meaningful commentary whatsoever.

[NOTE: Spoilers under the cut]

Read More

Quick Guide: The Pomodoro Workflow

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If you walk into me and Sarah’s office on any given day, you’ll probably hear the following conversation:

Me: Ok, I’m gonna start a Pomodoro

Sarah: I just started the tea

Me: Oh, ok I want one I’ll wait

~ 5 minutes later ~

Me: Ok. Ok We gotta do it.

Sarah: I knowwwwwww ughhhhh

Me: ugggggggh

Sarah: uggggggggh

Me: ok. 3,2,1, go… ok Pomodoro started

Even though we hate it, working as content managers, we rely on Pomodoro’s to make sure we can actually get stuff done. It’s a productivity system that you may have heard of but don’t know a ton about. So, with that in mind, here’s a quick guide to the Pomodoro technique and why we use it.

Where Did This Come From?

I’ve never been a terribly focused person. I can either work hard to finish something at break neck speed or it takes me 2 years. The Pomodoro technique is based on this idea: quick focused work, with multiple breaks. I know it sounds super weird but committing to it actually kind of works. Essentially, the Pomodoro technique is for sprinters, not marathoners. As Lifehacker explains,

“The Pomodoro Technique was invented in the early 90s by developer, entrepeneur, and author Francesco Cirillo. Cirillo named the system “Pomodoro” after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student. The methodology is simple: When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals (called “Pomodoros”) that are spaced out by short breaks. This trains your brain to focus for short periods and helps you stay on top of deadlines or constantly-refilling inboxes. With time it can even help improve your attention span and concentration “

By working in small chunks of time, that gives you the ability to tackle each task individually within a time limit that has no room for procrastination.

How Do You Do It?

As Cirillo defines it on his company website, the Pomodoro technique comes down to a couple basic steps. So, we made this infographic based on his guidelines:

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Of course, you don’t have to do this all on pen and paper. At the office, we use an app called Focus Keeper that does all the timing and tracking for us. There are tons of different apps out there.

Why Does It Work For Me?

Essentially, my day job requires me to do lots of tiny tasks, like writing blog posts about HVAC, law, pest control, and other areas of small business. The bigger tasks I have often require going through websites to change keywords or write copy for websites entirely.

All of those small tasks put together that I need to accomplish in a workday is frankly overwhelming. But breaking up these tasks into 25-minute intervals, let’s me break my day up into:

“Ok, I’m gonna write two blog posts about dog safe plants”

and

“Ok I’ll write a draft of this homepage and then edit it after my break”

and

“Ok, now that I have 25 minutes, I can watch this Yoga video and do a couple stretches”

It brings 8 hours worth of tasks into bite sized pieces my procrastinator brain can’t try to run away from. It still does sometimes and I do pause the sessions sometimes and it takes me an hour to finish sometimes. Overall though, my workflow is improved by breaking it up into tiny tomatoes.

Got Any Productivity Tips You Love? Let Us Know About It!

I’m Dreaming of a Lesbian Xena Reboot

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Everything these days seems to be getting a reboot. Though, it seems one reboot that actually would have been amazing, is dead in the water before I had even heard it was happening. According to Out Magazine,

“Once upon a time, NBC was planning a big, lesbian reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess but, because we can’t have nice things, that reboot is apparently dead…The revival, which was set to bring back co-creators Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi, was going to focus more on the lesbian relationship between the Amazonian goddess and Gabrielle as well as, you know, the fighting and her iconic armbands… It was rumored that these creative differences stemmed from him wanting to put the lesbian relationship front-and-center, which lead to today’s announcement from NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke that the reboot won’t go forward at all.”

Which is a huge bummer. Even though I wasn’t the biggest Xena fan of all time, a lesbian reboot would’ve been amazing. We may not get to see a lesbian Xena reboot anytime soon, but we can still dream of what might have been. With that in mind, here are 3 things I would have loved to have seen in the reboot.

1. We Could See Their Adorable Homelife

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So yeah, they kick a lot of ass and take a lot of names, but can you imagine what an adorable home life we could have seen? There are so many possibilities:

  • Maybe a la 30 Rock, they could have had a fight in their local Amazonian IKEA
  • Maybe they use their local form of Pinterest (probably an actual bulletin board of ideas) and do a DIY project together for their beautiful home
  • Maybe you know it’s all kicking ass on the week days but on the weekends they have brunch and garden

Do they brew their own wine and beer? Do they breed animals? Do they just have really adorable date nights? We could have had it all. We could have had kickass-ness AND lesbian normalcy.

In the TV Tropes page on “Hide Your Lesbians“, they describe the series saying,

“The show features one of the best known and longest running examples of this trope in the implied relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. Though the subtext becomes more and more explicit throughout the series, particularly during the final season, they’re never officially confirmed to be anything more than Heterosexual Life-Partners, and both characters are seen engaged in serious relationships (in one case, even a short-lived marriage) with male characters at various points throughout the series. It should be noted, though, that in later seasons, they stopped having Temporary Love Interests.”

Just by being able to show that there IS a relationship would be radical and fulfilling. To be able to show the “relationship”-y things present on any given sitcom would finally give these characters not something hinted at, but real and affirming.

2. Hercules and Xena Could Be Bro’s 

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If we forget about all of the romance and marriage stuff, we can’t ignore the fact that Xena and Hercules would make amazing bro’s. After a long day of kicking ass and sending Titans back to hell or whatever the hell that animated movie was about, they could totally hang out.

Image result for xena and hercules animated movie

After they put up their weapons, they could have gone to their local bar, had a couple beers and been like,

“Ladies… can’t live with them, can’t live without them, am I right?!”

It would have been great. They could have even done a whole episode a la How I Met Your Mother doing really stupid dares with each other. Even Gabrielle taking part in a series of drink offs, and drag their drunk asses home.

3. We’d See Xena OWN Misogynists and TERF’s

Image result for xena warrior princess
via Den of Geek

and it would have been totally awesome. Every episode could be like

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via giphy

“You think this is a phase?! I was born this badass you asshole— POW”

and

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via Reddit user gameraboy

“You have been repeatedly asked to use the correct pronouns. WHACK”

and

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via Tenor

“If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s not feminism. And as a cis woman we should lift up our gender non-conforming peers, not punch down [BATTLE CRY]”

Or maybe she would just kick bad guys asses. Even if the show wasn’t setting out to be political, it would be. To show an actual lesbian relationship, a show with a leading lesbian character, and just general great combat, it would be amazing.

But For Now, We’ll Have to Stick to Fanfiction

All that being said, this reboot isn’t happening and who knows when it will. The potential lesbian sitcom about kicking ass and a 20+ old lesbian relationship will have to stay on our vision boards and in fanfiction. These aren’t the only ideas in the world about a Xena and Gabrielle romance though, you can always dig into fanfiction archives like fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own. That or you can get started with a Xena reboot of your own, though chances are NBC won’t be interested. To get started, you can stream the original show on Hulu.

That’s Totally Retrograde!

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Weekends are great, but they can also be kind of depressing, which why we at Plucky Media offer our Weekend Mix of content from cool creators that you can experience. Every week, you can find a nice list round up of cool essays to read, videos to watch, TV shows, and even some indie games. Especially because Mercury is in Retrograde right now, it’s a great way to beat the existential angst.

So here are some of our recommendations for September 1st- September 3rd.

What to Read

From the future of Augmented Reality for artists to the history of the tater tot, a feminist take on Sir Mix-A-Lot to remembering the effect of Princess Diana’s Death— these are some amazing end of week stories that I think you’ll love.

Nota Bene: The Taylor Swift article isn’t what you think it is. It’s actually really good commentary: read it.

What to Watch

I’m having a real dead week with youtube. Other than the video game streams I leave on, I don’t really have a lot to show you. So, here are some of our favorite shows right now that we’ve been binging, that if you’re not watching and need something uplifting to watch this weekend— here you go.

  • The Mindy Project– It’s all on hulu and it’s what me and Sarah have been binging. There’s something about a pre-everything sitcom that’s just wholesome.
  • The Bold Type– Also on hulu, but if you have cable, it is on Freeform. It’s about women in working at a Cosmopolitan-type magazine. It’s tbh just so good and empowering and cute. This is actually a CURRENT show on TV and the season finale is NEXT WEEK!
  • Steven Universe– I’m being 100% serious when I say that after Trump got elected, Steven Universe taught me and Sarah how to love again. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. It’s so important. Also with Rick and Morty being off for 2 weeks, what else do you have to do?

What to Play

I also don’t have many new games to share this week, but I thought I’d share a couple of interesting indie browser games on itch.io. If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, I definitely recommend trying to make games on simple online editors like bitsy or twine. I love those systems and they have room for a lot of creativity if you want to. If not, here are some interesting games to try.

  • NNC News– Part of the #ResistJam earlier this year, this is a free, in browser teleprompter simulation game in which you replace banned words on a teleprompter. That doesn’t sound great but it’s actually a very pretty game and an interesting concept.
  • Sort the Court– An interesting and free browser game where you serve as a ruler and say “yes” or “no” to people’s requests. A little repetitive, but as a fan of city management games, it’s pretty fun.
  • Grow Your Own Ghoul Girl– A dress up game/clicker where you grow your own “Ghoul Girl” from an egg. It’s short and sweet and has cute graphics.
  • Lost Memories Dot Net– Free browser game, actually simulating a teenager’s browser. Very beautiful and interesting story.

… and that’s our weekend mix! If you have any other weekend mix suggestions, be sure to let us know!

Get Ready For Some *Wholesome* Content

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One of the only reasons I used to use Youtube was to watch the Vlogbrothers. The quote above always resonated with me and I think that’s why I liked them a lot. The idea that you can be excited about things and want to teach others about things, and build a supportive community around that was always important to me. I’ve expanded my watch habits now, I watch a ton of Wisecrack, Theorist Inc. shows like Game Theory and Film Theory, and a great deal of video game streamers. I’ve been wanting to make analytical but ultimately wholesome and enthusiastic content about the world we live in.

That being said, I have to honor my roots. I’ve been a freelance writer for 5 years with an emphasis on SEO content and I currently work as a Content Manager for a local marketing company. Working with publications like Femsplain, Bitch Flicks, Hello Giggles, and being involved in the Medium community, I don’t want to turn my back on solid editorial content, even though it may be trendy now. If you follow writers or popular publications like Mic, MTV, or Fox, you’ve probably heard about the “pivot to video”. As Bryan Curtis argues in The Ringer,

“Why this is happening is simple: The web has a surplus of copy versus advertising. Companies have decided that sticking an ad at the front of a video makes it less ignorable than putting a similar ad next to an article. It doesn’t matter what the video is. I often get a paragraph or two into a Sports Illustrated story only to find MadelynBurke in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, giving me a summary of the sentences I’m already reading.”

As someone with a background in both writing and performance, putting all of my eggs in the video basket makes sense, it did, until one day I was doing research on The Financial Diet. I found that the financial planning Youtube channel I was watching for years had BOTH an editorial and a video presence. I decided that as a brand, we don’t need a pivot to video but we should be producing content that honors both mediums. So that’s our plan here.

Me and Sarah Koop, armed with a cadre of contributors are starting out with an editorial presence. On the editorial side, in the coming weeks, you can expect criticism and celebration of pop culture. You can get commentary on TV, movies, video games, politics, and whatever else we feel like writing about. In the coming months, we’ll launch our Youtube space, probably with the same cultural criticism (honed with what we’ve learned from Google Analytics from our editorial side), and some other projects like:

  • A cooking series, wherein me and Sarah cook through a Burmese cookbook and other family recipes to uncover our heritage a little better
  • Video game streams or playthroughs, featuring commentary by Victoria Peach
  • A series on the history of memes (because we live in a time of meme chaos and we desperately need a record

And whatever else works. We’re starting out here, on this site, so if you want to keep following us, you can follow us on our social media platforms or sign up for our mailing list below. So, this is the beginning.


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