Category Archives: Writing

Dear Bravo, You Have Become Problematic

It is no secret to anyone, anywhere that I am a Bravo super-fan. Since 1994, when Inside the Actors Studio premiered, I have been sucked in by Bravo’s programming one reality show at a time. And, in being a reality TV fan – specifically, a BRAVO fan – I have been indoctrinated over the years to suspend my disbelief at the ridiculous behaviors that are displayed in these shows.

When you ask, “Surely there is something going on that we haven’t seen. They shoot so much footage that things have to have been left out. There must be more to the story.” Bravo replies, “The shows don’t tell lies, it’s all there on camera. It’s REALITY, baby.”

In recent years, though, it’s become obvious that in a lot of ways, it is the edit that Bravo provides where the “reality” of the show is established. And, truthfully, Bravo deals in a lot of half-truths and excused problematic behavior.

Bravo’s Performative Allyship

Only recently, in the face of the anti-racist movement that has intensified since the killing of George Floyd this past May, has Bravo began to crack down on the racist behavior of some of its’ stars. Behavior, that all Bravo fans know, that was on public display long before this critical mass of public protest began this spring.

It is a good step to call out racists and impose real world consequences for that behavior. That doesn’t mean Bravo is off the hook. The network has quite a lot to answer for when it comes to evangelizing additional problematic behavior on its’ shows. For which it makes no excuses or explanations. Producers and editors work to try to “normalize” sexism, abuse, and demonization. The big cheese, Andy Cohen, then discusses this normalization through skewed interviews and at cast “reunions.”

In particular, Bravo doesn’t seem to have clocked the whole “Me, Too” movement -or- the fact that demonizing mental health isn’t cool.

Via Champagne and Shade on Fansided

Also it seems like the only place Bravo has for the LGBTQIA community is with the G in that acronym… gay men. But, only when they are doing your hair or makeup. Any other time, same sex intimacy is deemed “gross” by the wanna be daughter of a mediocre 80s rock star.

As former Below Deck cast member, Adrienne Gang, said on Reddit today, “[Bravo makes us feel…] that collectively we are all crazy for not buying storylines they are spoon feeding us.”

Andy Cohen, You Have Some Explaining to Do

Up until recently I was a huge Andy Cohen fan. Hell, I even gave him (legal) weed gum balls at a Watch What Happens Live taping once. I thought he was a cool guy. An openly gay man, advocating for the rights of all on the late night airwaves. Sadly, fan opinions of Andy are beginning to shift drastically. Fans are beginning to see him as complicit in the horrendous behavior we see laid out in prime time. Behavior with no real world consequences and that goes without critical discussion.

I used to make excuses for Bravo and Andy Cohen. But, I cannot anymore. Despite how much I have loved their programming, it may have become time to part ways with this network.

#TeamHannah for life.

Bravo, Bravo, Kate – This is a Bad Look for You

Here is a list of the most problematic issues I have found with Bravo this season (besides the implicit racism and homophobia discussed above) –

  1. The overtly abusive, sexist, and threatening behavior displayed by Ashton Pineaar, Kevin Dobson, Brian de Saint Pern, and Tanner Sterback towards their female colleagues in the most recent season of Below Deck. Better known as the Brü Situation.
  2. The statements made by Teddi Mellencamp on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that a consensual relationship between two women is “gross” and “really really really bad.” (S10, Ep11 “Kiss & Tell” and S10, Ep12 “Roman Rumors.”) And, the insinuation that Brandi Glanville makes that somehow Denise Richards sexually assaulted her (although, she quickly backpedals this, as she knows she’s going a step too far into dangerous territory by overtly saying that’s what happened.)
  3. Captain Sandy Yawn gaslighting, micromanaging, and verbally abusing Chief Steward, Hannah Ferrier on Below Deck Mediterranean in Season 5… Then firing her for having prescription medication and a legal CBD pen onboard, citing this as possession “drugs.” She then tells Hannah that she “doesn’t feel comfortable going to sea” with her. Why? Because Hannah lives with generalized anxiety disorder. (A fact that Sandy Yawn was well aware of, having been revealed in Season 3 of this show.) She also cites that Hannah having had a panic attack a few nights before makes her “unsafe,” according to “Maritime Law.”
Yeah, it’s fucking 2020.

The straw that broke fans backs… or, at least this fan’s back.

It’s not as if I, a bisexual woman and survivor of sexual assault/violent trauma, wasn’t triggered by the first two things in my list. I was. But, what has really caused me to come out to say that I am over Bravo is the situation which happened with Hannah Ferrier.

Oh, the gaslighting, it has been going on for years…

Let me break it down for you real quick:

Fact: Captain Sandy does not like Chief Stew Hannah, she hasn’t for all 3 of the 4 seasons they have been on the show together. Her dislike started because Hannah misrepresented a flirtatious moment between herself and a charter guest to the Captain. (Who then watched it back on TV, and has been riding Hannah’s ass ever since.)

Fact: No matter how exceptionally Hannah is doing her job, she is always micromanaged, belittled, and harassed by Sandy. This has been an ongoing theme for 3 years.

Fact: Hannah is pretty “over” being bullied and micromanaged by Sandy. It’s clear from the second episode of the season that Hannah feels as if Sandy doesn’t have her back as a head of department.

Fact: Hannah has generalized anxiety disorder, this was disclosed to viewers (and, Captain Sandy,) 2 seasons ago.

Fact: On the last episode of Below Deck Mediterranean (S5, Ep12 “There’s No Place Like Home,”) Hannah is summarily fired for having a mental illness.

And, is then hardcore gaslit by Sandy. As Hannah tries to maintain some professionalism and collect herself, all the while on the phone with her boyfriend in Australia, trying to make hotel and airfare accommodations for herself. While Sandy hammers her with questions and requests for assurance that Hannah agrees Sandy has done the right thing.

Fact: All of this occurs because a crew member (Malia White) goes through Hannah Ferrier’s personal property and texts a photo of the two prescriptions to the Captain.

Fact: The reason Malia White does this is because she is pissed off at Hannah.

Fact: Hannah tells Malia that she didn’t want to room with Bugsy Drake (the two of whom do not get along well in close quarters, as established by previous seasons.) Which puts a kink in Malia’s plan to switch all the crew cabins around to accommodate her bunking with her boyfriend, Chef Tom/Tim, who was brought onboard after the previous chef was fired.

Fact: The previous chef, Kiko – beloved by all, was fired by Captain Sandy (who stood watch over the galley like she should have been standing watch over her ship) for serving a “Las Vegas like buffet” to the charter guests, who asked for a Las Vegas night.

Fact: After Kiko was fired, Hannah had a panic attack in the middle of the night (very common for those with anxiety.)

Fact: Hannah had a panic attack because she had a very stressful day, and felt responsible for Kiko’s dismissal.

Fact: Malia had plenty of previous opportunities to disclose Hannah’s mental illness and medication to Captain Sandy, yet chose to wait until it suited her needs -in a specific moment- to do so.

Fact: The unregistered medication is not even the real reason that Captain Sandy Yawn fires Hannah Ferrier. Sandy states she feels “unsafe” going to sea with someone who is managing a mental illness with properly prescribed (if unregistered) medication. She and Malia characterize Hannah as “unstable” on multiple occasions prior to this episode. We even see Sandy, supposedly empathetic, “checking in on” a very confused Hannah.

Fact: Sandy fakes concern for Hannah after Malia’s disclosure by bemoaning “What if she overdoses, what if she overdoses?

(Like really? .5 mg of Valium doesn’t even make me sleepy.)

Fact: After firing Hannah, Sandy then discloses to the entire crew that “Hannah was on DRUGS” and that the boat has a “zero tolerance policy” for drugs of any kind. (Um…. like alcohol, Sandy?)

Fun fact: It’s actually M/Y Wellesley, not M/Y Wellington being used on BDM this season.

Set ALLLLLL That Aside

Set aside that Malia went through Hannah’s personal property with out probable cause or a dictate to search and seize from her superiors. (Of which there are protocols they have to follow, including informing the person whose property they intend to search before they search that property.)

Set aside that the Valium was a prescription, the “pot” pen was doctor prescribed hemp oil.

Set aside that the Captain and the Bosun of the ship were involved in catty gossip about Hannah even before this episode. And, afterwards derided her for being on “DRUGS.”

Set aside that Hannah clearly says that she forgot to register her medication with the boat, but had not taken either substance while on board.

Set aside that they didn’t send her for a drug test before firing her.

Set aside that Bravo edited the whole season to make it seem like Hannah was popping pills, when actually she was taking paracetamol (for those not familiar with this name, Advil.)

Set aside that Sandy knew about Hannah’s anxiety, ergo knew that Hannah was on medication, for 2 seasons prior.

Set aside that 2 seasons ago they had a stew (Kasey) who was constantly on Dramamine (way harsher than .5 mg of Valium) and another prescription drug (I cannot remember what) for seasickness that made her woozy and unable to perform her duties. But, still she was kept on board. And, allowed to self-regulate her meds.

Set aside that charter guests have clearly been doing illegal drugs on Sandy’s boats in previous seasons.

Set aside that when a similar situation arose in Season 1 of the main franchise of Below DEck that Captain Lee Rosbach (who is and always will be THE MAN) did not fire or even discipline the crew member who did not disclose their anxiety medication prior to setting sail. Because, being on an anti-anxiety medication is not against “Maritime Law.”

Set aside that crew member (Kat Heald) was also allowed to self-regulate her medication.

Set aside the hypocrisy of this statement by Malia White, “We аre CREW аnd аlwаys ‘on duty.’ Our primаry goаl аt seа is to ensure the sаfety of аll pаssengers. Mentаl heаlth issues аre а big deаl аnd thаt’s why we hаve proper procedures in plаce. We аll reаd and sign а drugs and alcohol policy before joining аny boаt. This is VERY CLEARLY lаid out.” (Might want to think of that before you mandiate that the crew goes out and gets schwasted with each other between charters, Bravo.)

Set aside that all of Sandy Yawn and Malia White’s claims of “but, Maritime Law…” have been debunked by a former cast member.

Set aside that the cast member doing the debunking was the one who reported another cast member’s erratic behavior and suspected drug use to Captain Lee… so she probably knows a bit about procedure here.

Let’s look at the big picture:

The big picture is…

BRAVO WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SAYING TO VIEWERS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH?

Geezus ducking cripes, Bravo, 51 Minds, Mark Cronin, and Nadine Rajabi! It’s not bad enough that you let racism, sexism, and homophobia sliiiidddeee through your shows until you’re called out? Now you’re going to tell your primary demographic, women, 22.8% of whom live with mental illness (that’s approximately 1-in-5 of your viewers, in case you can’t do ratios) that it’s OKAY TO BE FIRED FROM A JOB DUE TO A MEDICAL CONDITION?

AND you’re going to insinuate that the medications used to control this medical condition are ILLEGAL DRUGS? And, that people who manage their medical conditions with medications are DRUG ADDICTS? Shame on you.

Seriuosly, Bravo.

I Hate to Say it Bravo, But Are You Fucking High?

Look, I don’t come at this from an unbiased position. I live with mental illness. I have PTSD, bipolar disorder (don’t get me started about Ramona Singer on RHONY outing Leah McSweeny’s bipolar 2 disorder,) generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and major depression.

I start my day by taking 300 mg of Wellbutrin (anti-depressant,) I end my day taking 200 mg of Trazadone (sleeping medication,) 80 mg of Celexa (anti-depressant,) 200 mg of Lamictal (mood regulation,) and 3.5mg of Xanax (anxiety medication, stops night terrors.)

According to Sandy Yawn and Malia White and Bravo TV and 51 Minds, being held to the same standards that Hannah Ferrier was held to, I’m the equivalent of Pablo-fucking-Escobar.

What these people are telling me about my mental illness is that all I am qualified to do is sit in the corner and be a drooling idiot. Let me tell you, while some may claim I’m an idiot (waves at little brothers,) I am not drooling. Nor do I belong in a rubber room. And, there is zero reason I cannot have any job I want.

Mental illness is an ILLNESS. And, like other illnesses it can be successfully managed with medication and the correct type of therapy.

Plus, just FYI to Malia and Sandy, the idea that Hannah could not get up and respond to a muster alarm if she were on Valium is ridiculous.

Despite the massive amounts of medication I take, I can still hear my daughter crying from two rooms away. Though she is loud, I doubt she is as loud as a muster alarm.

And, if I am able to sooth and coach a finicky 2 year old back into her bed and get her to sleep, I’m sure that Hannah would be able to wake up and corral guests to the muster station. When you hear a loud alarm and see flashing lights, you tend to go into fight or flight mode. Which means adrenaline courses through your body and you are snapped into taking action. That’s why they have alarms.

Not to mention that isn’t even a Schedule 1 drug, it’s a SCHEDULE FUCKING IV DRUG… it’s as dangerous as Dramamine.

And, if you are going to worry about people being incapacitated or in altered states, let’s talk about Bugs and Alex and all the other crew members over all the seasons and all the franchises of Below Deck being off their rocks drunk before, during, and after charter… hypocrisy much?

I love ya, Bugs – but this isn’t a good look for either you or Alex.

Medications are drugs, but not all drugs are medications

It’s not “DRUGS.” It’s medication. It might be “DRUGS” if you abuse it, but there is no indication that Hannah was abusing her prescription (aside from the badly edited cuts to Hannah taking a paracetamol for sore feet or a headache.) If you look closely at the side of the box when Bravo shows it to you in close-up, you can even see where it says “As Needed” on the prescription.

And, fuck I would need wayyyyy more than .5 of Valium to deal with the insanity of being a cast member of Below Deck Med would entail.

It is fair to say that in this moment, in the editor’s choices to portray the season as they did, in Malia’s unlawful search, in Sandy Yawn’s words about Hannah Ferrier’s stability… Bravo demonized and shamed Hannah Ferrier for having -what surmounts to- a very common medical condition. It is also fair to sat that Bravo have ALSO shamed and demonized all the women, across the world, who tune into their shows, that also live with similar (or, more severe) medical conditions.

This is all very Tl;Dr. But suffice it to say, Bravo you’ve lost a fan. I’d rather watch paint dry than watch any of your bullshit anymore (except for Captain Lee. As he is THE MAN.)

You have some serious issues with your programming to address. And, some toxic “Bravolebrities” to get rid of. You need to be better. Do better.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO FOR YOUR 2019-2020 CHOICES, BRAVO.

Until you can… I guess I’m gonna watch MSNBC. And, Captain Lee’s Instagram stories.

close up view of an owl

Freelance Career: Owl I Do is Win?

In previous posts of tips-and-tricks to start a freelance career I may have suggested that owl I do is win. (Pun intended.) This is patently untrue. The realistic version of freelance work is that for every 10 clients you pitch, you’re likely to get one job. I am in a good place with my career, because people know my work and often come to me solicit product. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to hustle the rest of the time. I do.

If you’re not prepared to hustle? Don’t quite your day job, hunty.

close up photography of microphone

Covid-19 Comedy: You just gotta laugh

(In a past life I was a comedian. This little piece about Covid-19 just came to me last night as I was trying to fall asleep.)

COVID COMEDY, IS IT TOO SOON?

I grew up with PIDD. No, that’s not a sexually transmitted disease. Or, a bladder leakage issue women in their late middle life get. (Holla atcha girl, Poise pad sisters!)

It stands for Primary Immune Deficiency Disorder. It’s like the boy in the bubble disease.

Except with no bubble.

And, no boy.

Basically this means if someone within 5 miles of me sneezes, I’m going to end up in the ICU with pneumonia.

Now you know my super secret weakness. The cold germ is my Kryptonite.

This has led me to be a lifelong hypochondriac. If I cough, I think I’m dying of black lung. When someone in my apartment complex burns toast in the morning, I think I’m having a stroke. Should I stub my toe, my entire foot needs to be amputated.

I’ve become so much worse since the Covid-19 pandemic began. I wear a hazmat suit to go the mailbox. Clorox wipes are not literal enough in my life. I wear a mask in my own home.

People used to get annoyed that I asked them to take their shoes off outside our door. Imagine how they feel now when I tell them to strip naked, put their clothing in the basket I have provided outside my house, streak past me into my bathroom, and scrub themselves down in the shower like they have been exposed to nuclear radiation.

At least I provide a complimentary robe and fuzzy bunny slippers. (That I burn once they are gone.) My robe and slipper budget has quadrupled since the whole “family and friend” pod thing started.

That’s the thing. Barely anyone knows anything about this virus. (Thanks, Trump.)

You know what I wonder? How is it that there have been 18 other Covids before this one and no one ever gave us the heads up that being Covid-y was a thing? How did it take until e 19th Covid? I would think that 1 or 2 Covids should have been enough to raise the alarm. But, 19?!?!? That’s just someone at the WHO being asleep at the wheel of disease prevention.

This is a great time for introverts, though., At last they have the silence and lack of social interaction they have always dreamed of. Blanket forts away! They don’t even have to make excuses for avoiding social events anymore. Quarantine. Lockdown. It’s the gift they and their cats have been waiting for.

Ambiverts, like always, are just “meh” about the whole situation. I mean, they could go out, but they’re okay if they just stay in. Masks are itchy, I’ll just stay in. But, it’s sunny out, I’ll tie a bandana over my face and go for a walk. They could give a shit less unless their sourdough starter dies, then they will break a wine bottle and cut a bitch.

On the other hand, this is like the 6th ring of hell for extroverts. They are liked coked out cats trying to scratch, claw, and chew their way out of their homes and apartments.

At least they aren’t meth gators.

Yeah that’s a thing now. Along with murder hornets and swarms of locusts taking over India.

That, my friends, is the shitshow that is the year 2020.

I’m convinced that pretty much any day we’re going to be overrun by frogs falling out of the sky, it will start raining blood, and four horsemen are going to saunter up my street.

This is not catastrophic thinking.. Look around you, the end is neigh. I mean, for chrissake, Donald Trump is STILL president. That should say it all.

That’s my time, thank you so much, don’t forget to try the veal and tip your waitresses. I’ll be here all week.

woman working at home using laptop

How-To Make Money in Digital Marketing

As a digital marketer, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “Kate can you tell me how-to make money in digital marketing?”

Well, yes , yes I can.

Surprisingly, in this Covid-19 fever dream we’re living in, freelance digital marketers are one of the more in demand service. So how do marketers make money in freelance marketing? Sit back and let’s discuss this.

pregnant woman wearing white dress

Parenting Tips: 10 Helpful Tips For First Time Moms

Parenting tips are much discussed on the Internet. That’s not going to stop me from weighing in with my own, bishes. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think there is going to be a huge boom in babies in 2021.

You know it’s true. There are only so many series you can binge. Boredom then sets in. And, need another activity to break of the monotony of quarantine. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

I don’t want to give you more toddler tips and issues. Or, info about how to survive being a SAHWM (it’s a real thing.) I want to talk about things I wish I had known. When I was pregnant preparing for the birth of Peej. About what I had wished I knew in those first months after we brought her home from the hospital. So without ado, here are my top 10 parenting tips for first time moms.

woman in white brassiere holding red rose and menstrual cup

The Underwear Conundrum: Dating after 40

As I was drifting off to sleep last night, my brain fell back into happier dating times. Like, when you thought about what underwear you would wear on a date… in case, yanno. But, thinking about this topic led me to thinking about how the underwear conundrum affects women in their 40s. Especially women who have been married for a long time and haven’t had to rely on cute underwear since… well at least 10 years ago.

I have a social distanced date with Tall Drink of Water on Saturday. (What does that even mean?) You know it’s 2020 when you’re thinking about what mask best matches the outfit you’re going to wear on a date and wondering where your 6-foot measuring tape is. Not like things are going to get frisky Saturday. (They are 100% not, thanks Covid-19.)

As I have mentioned before, dating after 40 is rough. Honestly, at least 50% of the reason I got married for the 2nd time in the 1st place was so I didn’t have to date anymore. Because dating in your 30s was no walk in the park, either. Too many fuck bois and crazy ladies. Boo-hiss.

Freelancing for Beginners: Here’s How It’s Done

I have been noodling the topic of freelancing for beginners in my head for a while. I have been working freelance or on a 1099 off and on for 12 years. Sometimes while having a full time job at the same time. (The ComboApp years. On the 93rd floor of the Sears Tower. I still freelance for them! Dmitry is my homie!!)

I was thinking about Covid-19 and how many people have been thrown out of work. Many have turned to freelancing. Also many people have been pushed into being part time remote workers because of the virus.

When I was laid off of my cushy tech job in 2008 (during the last recession,) I was a wreck. I didn’t know what to do or how to get another job. And, my savings and unemployment burned up like flash paper.

As a baby freelancer, I wished there was someone who could hold my hand. And, walk me through how to become a good freelancer. I did have this excellent book by Michelle Goodman to help guide the way. But a book only gets you so far. I had many great successes and so so many bad, bad failures.

It is now my turn to share what I have learned about over the years with you, the freelance beginner. Or, the full-time worker who wants to find new or transition a current career into freelance/remote work. These are the freelance tips and tricks I work by. I hope they help you realize your working in your jammies- while watching Bravo- not wearing makeup- spending more time with your kids- pursuing your passion project dreams.

This Is a Mommy Blog. But, Am I Mommy Blogger?

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about what exactly this blog is. Is it a Mommy Blog? Am I a Mommy Blogger? Or, is this site just like every other blog I have ever written in my life – a narcissistic diary for me to review my own life on? Does my writing have a direction?

Obviously, I write because I have to write. It’s in my makeup, my DNA. I don’t lack for topics, as I can always word vomit out some bullshit about my life and form it into a coherent narrative.

Just Another Manic Monday

I am taking break from writing business proposals and SEO blog articles to mentally divert my brain, watch Bravo, and drink a shit ton of Diet Coke to keep me awake. I have literally been working since 7am, while trying to placate a baby who doesn’t have her Momma’s full attention today (a lot of Disney + and iPad, what can I do?)

Don’t get me wrong. I am super super happy work has picked up. If 1 or 2 of these proposals, or the job I am interviewing for on Wednesday, come through – I will be in a really nice financial situation within a couple of months. Which will lift a huge weight off my shoulders. And, will allow me to hire a part time nanny to play with Peej while I have to be working (which worked super well for us in LA, Sahar was a lifesaver, but we haven’t had a Sahar here in Chicago – as the reason for coming to Chicago was so I could be a SAHM. Now I’m a SAHWM -it’s a thing- and I could use some help.)

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Fucccccckkkkkkk

In an update to yesterday’s blog post: While they’ve opened the Lakefront trail, they have re-closed the far north Chicago beaches and the beaches south of us remain closed, with no plan to reopen them. Plus public pools are expected to stay closed all summer.

They have based this decision on observing the behavior of adults with kids on playgrounds and beaches. (See my rant about entitled parents on yesterday’s post.)

I can’t take her to the Lakefront trail without her making a bee line for the beach. We’re going to be restricted to the boring park and walking around the neighborhood (which she hates.)

I am screwed. This severely limits Peej’s outside options. I need to talk to our landlord and Ex British Husband about buying a kiddie pool/sandbox for her. =(

Or, beg my parents to let us come back to Lakewood.

It’s supposed to be high 80s and low 90s here all next week, with excessive humidity.

I hate COVID-19.