Cushy started out as an outlet for me to exercise long-contained creative energies.
What started as a space carved out of personal necessity has grown into something far more beautiful and collaborative.
Today, our team consists of five powerhouse women, including myself. I just want to use this opportunity to thank those of you that have been here since the beginning - you know who you are. Thank you for you readership and continued engagement.
Enough about me, let’s get to why I’m really writing this. I want, no I need, to talk to you about these women. When I reached out to this bunch I had expectations on how they could contribute, and they have gone above and beyond what I could have anticipated.
The first person I reached out to was my best friend of well over a decade, Nat Davis. Life-long creative and maker, Nat has been influencing and inspiring me since we first met in 8th grade. Her fearless style and voice, her commitment to creative generation and exploration, her steady, compassionate heart, make her one of the most unique and singular individuals I have ever met. She’s going to be writing broadly on creative living and living well, but she’s going to be seen and felt everywhere online through her ideas, pictures, and vision.
Liz is someone who came into my life via other friendships, but has become one of my closest friends, and she and Nat are part of a group of women that are so much a part of me and my life, that I would be remiss to not mention them now: banshees. I’ve written on what it is to be a banshee, so I won’t go into a long exposition, but I will use this moment to talk about Liz: she’s smart, she’s kind, and she's important. Liz is an activist and self-less volunteer; her actions motivate me to be a better person. That’s why I asked her to contribute to Cushy – I knew that if Liz was inspiring me through her work, she could and would inspire others. You can expect heartfelt, honest, authentic writing from her covering topics on feminism, politics, and activism.
Adriana is one of those women you look up to. Driven, highly motivated and very talented, Adriana epitomizes what it means to be an entrepreneur. When she’s not working her day job as a proposal writer, she’s working the design company she’s started, House 407 (like our logo? That’s House 407 – check them out here ). I knew I wanted Adriana’s specific perspective and talent, I just didn’t know how I saw her working within Cushy. Her answer is as perfect as it is needed: a web comic series, focused on what it means to live creatively: the ups the downs, reality vs. expectation, inspiration and stagnation – the whole spectrum. I am so excited to trace the journey of Inès, the star of the web comic series, and I hope you will too.
The last person I reached out to was Cassandra. Cassandra came into my life by way of my husband, and I’m forever grateful to him, because he introduced me to a highly capable, aware, and driven woman that has since been feeding me the most comforting food imaginable. Taking a seat at Cassandra’s table means an invitation to warm, cozy, cushy meals, that are handmade and infused with love and generations of culinary knowledge. With each bite I feel her purpose and her hope to connect with people and their stomachs (i.e. their hearts). Keep and eye out for her recipes and upcoming feature on making Tiramisu at the end of this month.
But enough gushing from me. I’d like to turn it over to our Contributors now in a Q&A that I hope will shed light on their shiny, beautiful personalities.
Erin: Ok,let's turn you guys loose with a couple of questions. But first, an easy one - favorite color, go!
Liz: Always pink.
Adriana: Electric Pink!
Nat: Purple, always & forever.
Cassandra: Maroon, any shade of green, and all shades of purple.
Erin: What book or movie has inspired or meant the most to you and why?
Cassandra: Boxcar Children, The Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I call these my most influential books because it is the first series of books I ever read. My mother is a notorious bookworm and instilled this in me at a young age. When I was young I always had books in my possession and would often get books for presents. This is the first series I remember reading and really liking and so grew my love of reading. It blossomed from there. Even to this day, it is still a favorite activity for my mom, sister, and I to go to the library to find new and interesting things to read.
Liz: I have lots of inspirational books and movies in my life, but the book that has meant the most to me is a book called God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo. It is, without a doubt, my favorite book. I read it about 8 years ago for the first time, and it left such an imprint on my heart that I now read it yearly. I also have a tattoo of the book on my wrist, along with the character who made me feel the most. It's a very simple book, and a very simple love story, but there's something about it that makes me come back to it again and again.
Adriana: Books have always been very important to me. As a teenager, my mom would beg me to do anything else but read and would encourage me to ask for clothes instead of books for my birthday and other special occasions. The book that has meant the most to me is Jane Eyre, although the Harry Potter series is a close second. I remember really connecting with the character of Jane and for the first time feeling that magic you feel when a book reaches out and touches something in your soul. I liked to read before meeting Jane, but it became an obsession afterwards.
Nat: Mean Girls - every line in that movie is hilarious, quotable, and relatable. I am empowered by the strong female leads.
Erin: What is your favorite/most embarrassing drunken story about yourself?
Nat: I love the story of me turning into "Roxy" on New Year's Eve in NYC 2013. If you know me, you know that story. Talk about a hot mess.
Liz: Thankfully, I don't have many of these stories, but one of them definitely come to mind. First of all, I don't recommend anyone drink to excess, but when I was in my 20's, I didn't know my limits, so I had to find out, right? The first one is in my early 20's, probably 21, and I thought it would be a good idea to drink an entire GLASS full of rum. I thought it was delicious, and for some reason, I didn't think it would get me as drunk as it did. Cut to later that night, I'm sitting at my friend's table in the kitchen, drinking water, but spitting it out like a fountain all over the table. Then, when I realized I had made a mess, I was trying to clean it up with my face. And, my hair. And, my shirt, which was still on my body. I ended the night with my head in the toilet begging my friends not to let me die. They were amazing, and didn't let my head go all the way in the toilet, and they were trying to feed me bread to soak up alcohol, but I'm pretty sure it was a lost cause at that point.
Adriana: Oh, boy. People are forever wanting to get me drunk because they mistakenly think that I'll be some kind of party animal under the right circumstances. When I'm drunk, I'm usually more honest in what I say, in that I have no filter, but that's about it. That's very disappointing to a lot of people, and I'm sure it's disappointing for our readers, as well.
Cassandra: Well, I agonized about telling this story...however it is one that is COMPLETELY MADE UP, FABRICATED AND UTTERLY UNTRUE. One day I was drinking water and happened to spill it on myself in front of friends. It started with a nickname and took on a life of its own. I will not reveal all the details, as its completely embarrassing and if it is linked to me in some way, I will forever be denouncing its various lies and made up embellishments. If you want to know the story, buy me a beer and I’ll happily share (after you sign a non-disclosure agreement). Rather, my friends will gleefully tell you while I glare at them from across the table.
Erin: Ha! Ok, let's talk a little bit more about personal experiences. Have you ever been accused of being too loud? Unlady like? When? How did you respond? How did it make you feel?
Adriana: I've forever been accused of being unladylike by my family growing up. One of my aunts, in particular, kept telling me that my behavior, which consisted of reading and wielding my intellect in arguments, was unladylike behavior and that no man would ever love me because of that. I was probably 12 when she started telling me that and she didn't stop until I was well into my 20s. I remember feeling a combination of rage and indignation any time she would tell me that my behavior was somehow an innate deficiency in my character. The idea that what I saw as a defining characteristic in myself rendered me unlovable created some anxiety in my teenage years. Intellectually, I knew she was wrong, but since I grew up in a culture that valued marriage as an end goal, it stuck. In the end, reading books and valuing intellectual pursuits helped me care less about those persistent comments.
Nat: Sure, plenty of times. I usually respond with a middle finger and a tongue-out grin. Unapologeticlly is what I mean. If I'm disrespectfully loud I understand adjusting the volume, but I am not one to diminish my voice or cater my femininity to another's expectations or demands. I am polite and respectful but it has nothing to do with my likeness to a lady.
Cassandra: YES! ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME. I have several people in my life (not by choice) who tell me that I’m too independent, too unlady-like, too crass, cuss too much., etc. I responded with a big F**K You and a see ya later. I'm one to speak my mind, especially when it comes to privileged-ass men attempting to tell me what to do. Man-splaining...happens all the time. I can't stand it. And ladies...lemme tell ya if you start man-splaining back to them, it’s hilarious to see their little faces contort with anger and the occasional "do you think I’m stupid?" question that comes with it. And I never answer honestly, after all, I have manners.
Liz: I have definitely been told I'm too loud. I have a loud voice, at times, and I have a very loud laugh. Also, I curse like a sailor. I remember being in Las Vegas with my mom and a friend, and I was cursing a lot. I can't help it. I curse all the time, and I didn't even know I was doing it. In a not-so-roundabout way, I was told it wasn't nice to talk like that, and that I was too loud.
Erin: I have to admit, I reached out each of you in part because I already knew and loved your loud & vibrant voices. So thank you for sharing them! Last q - Pro tip from you to our readers: what's one practice, idea, or mentality they can implement today to start living a more creative life?
Adriana: Silencing the negative voices in your head and just go for it. Understand that practice is the only way to get better at something. Surround yourself with creative people who don't use criticism as a way to tear you down.
Liz: I think you really need to find something you love and don't let anyone tell you that it's ridiculous or childish or, in some way, wrong. I'm a pop-culture fanatic and a sincere lover of boybands and Broadway musicals. I have taken heat for boyband love since I was a New Kids On The Block fan, but it doesn't matter. If you love something, nurture that. I'm not that ashamed to say I wrote some popular fanfiction about the Backstreet Boys in my late teens/early 20's. If you're inspired by something, or someone, use it. Don't be ashamed to love something as harmless as a band, or crafting, or anything, really. My mantra is, and always will be: I like what I like because I like it. Allow that to carry you into your life, and you'll find yourself in your happy place more often than not.
Cassandra: When it comes to food, have fun!! it’s all trial and error. I didn't become a good cook overnight. I had a lot of failed dishes before I found the right way to make something. Perfection doesn't belong in the kitchen. I also believe that sharing a meal with people is the ultimate way to show them you love them. I've never cooked a meal for someone I disliked. And if I’ve baked for you, feel very special
Nat: Listen to what your body is telling you. You are one.
There you have it - from our team to you. Visit Cushy often to see their tenacious voices at work.