New York Minute

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Here’s what I was up to in New York City yesterday!


I served as the moderator for a series of roundtable discussions that will be turned into mini-webisodes and be featured on the Glam Network.  The event was sponsored by Kotex and focused on how our perception of and understanding of our bodies and periods influence our self-image as girls and later as women.  It’s all part of Kotex’s Generation Know project, which encourages females to talk to each other and get educated. 


I thought it would be cool to give you all a behind-the-scenes peek at how things like this work…


So much effort goes into producing a few 30-second to 2-minute long clips.  The filming lasted from 9 AM to 4 PM.  There were 13 bloggers, two Kotex Ambassadors, a team of videographers, and five or six reps from the Glam Network.  Oh, and there were 3 makeup artists and an entire team of chefs and waiters.  Intense.


The two ambassadors were really interesting women.  I’m going to try to rope them into guest blog posts.  Smile


Dr. Vanessa Schick works at Indiana University.  She’s in the epidemiology and biostatistics department, but her heart is with the vagina.  You heard me right.  Vanessa ‘s “research generally focuses on biopychosociocultural predictors of men’s and women’s sexual health and wellbeing…. with a focus on women’s genital perceptions."   She’s also the author of the book Read My Lips, a guide to vagina health for young women.  AND she has authored more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored more than 75 presentations… but she’s only in her early 30s!  As I’m sure you can imagine, Vanessa was a really intriguing woman to talk to.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pics of Vanessa.


The other ambassador was Kat Lazo.  She couldn’t have been more different than Vanessa but was equally awesome.  She’s a YouTube feminist with TONS of personality (like tons -  I wish I had 25% of her energy).  She catch Kotex’s attention after producing this video:

The bloggers in attendance included:


Liz from So Much to Smile About

Melanie from O So Chic

Victoria from Fasshonaburu

Channing from Channing in the City

Erin from Girl Gone Veggie

Natalie from Fashionably Broke

Lara from Pretty Connected

Janique from Her Goody Bag

Danielle from The Style and Beauty Doctor

Clare from Fitting It All In

Sherrell from Organic Beauty Vixen

And me Winking smile


So many bloggers, so many phones.


The bloggers were all chosen because they have expressed in interest in women’s issues.  Most were fashion and beauty bloggers, which meant I had lots of pretty shoes to admire.  It was fun to take pictures of the fashion bloggers – so good at striking poses!



Clare, Erin, and I represented the healthy living blog world.  We just smile for cameras. Winking smile


And then we talked.  And talked and talked.


The discussions were great.  The entire Generation Know effort is truly about breaking down barriers to education, busting myths, and encouraging women to be comfortable with their bodies.  I swear, I have never said the word ‘vagina’ so much in one day.  And it was interesting how awkward everyone felt talking about the issues at first and then slooowly opened up until we were all jabbering away non-stop.  Nothing wrong with talking about this kind of stuff – if anything, it’s so, so, so important that we do!  Knowledge is power, right?


It was also funny to hear all the “my first period stories.”  Some women’s moms baked them a cake.  Some moms cried upon hearing the news (cough, cough – MomHTP).  Some moms plopped their daughters in a bubble bath and handed them an edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the American Girl The Care and Keeping of You book, or Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.  Claire’s mom is a doctor, and she actually gave ‘The Sex Talk’ to the local public schools… including when Claire was a student.  The horrrrror!


All in all… a strangely empowering day.  I didn’t expect that, truthfully.   But I walked away feeling proud to be a woman and an urgent need to spread the message that yes, this is your body and yes, your differences are perfectly normal and natural and beautiful.  And also – know your body!  That’s how you know if something is off and needs medical attention.  I’m excited to see how the webisodes turn out.


But the true highlight of my day?  My friend Maddie, who use to help me run the Operation Beautiful Twitter, happened to be in New York, too.  She lives in Iowa but works for Blue Bunny ice cream, and the Blue Bunny team was in the city to do promotions.  We met up and had dinner and drinks before I hopped on my flight.  So fun to FINALLY meet someone that I worked so closely with for so many years!


So that’s what I did in NYC.  Crazy, huh?  I didn’t get home until well past midnight.  I was completely wiped but my mind was so busy.  My gears turned and turned and turned until 2 AM when I blissfully surrendered to sleep.  And then Henry woke me up at 7:00.  Whew…. Here it goes again!



  • Heather January 31, 2013, 10:14 am

    It seems a little odd that you would work with a tampon company considering you a) are a Diva Cup gal and b) seemed to kind of blame non-organic tampons for your PAP/cervix issues.

    But I do agree that the message seemed spot-on!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 10:19 am

      I definitely prefer to use menstrual cups, but at the same time, I recognize that not everyone is comfortable doing so! Menstrual cups are not something that I could’ve used when I was a teenager… Putting in a tampon was ‘hard’ enough (mostly because of all those damn period myths… I was totally afraid it was going to get lost inside of me or steal my virginity or something). I like the Generation Know effort a lot. I don’t think my use of the Diva Cup means I can’t participate in something like this. Hope that explains my thought process behind my participation! I definitely consider these things carefully.

      • Shannon January 31, 2013, 11:27 am

        I think “oddness” here isn’t so much about “preferring” a menstrual cup but more about how in the past you made it seem as though conventional tampons contributed to health problems for you. (I am going off of memory here, I could be wrong). If you’re correct about the health issues thing, it seems as though you’re promoting a potentially dangerous product. If you’ve changed your mind about non-organic tampons, that’s cool. There’s always new research and information coming out on health topics that is makes sense to be adaptable in our beliefs. I just know you’re such a role model to girls and women and have been so open about women’s issues in the past, maybe you could address your evolving view points.

        That said, I have always enjoyed your blog and i think anything that gets women talking about these things more openly is a good idea, even if it’s a PR move to sell a product!

        • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 11:37 am

          I wasn’t sure whether conventional tampons had caused my problems. It was one of the many things that I changed in my lifestyle to start getting regular paps. Clearly though, regardless of whether I was sensitive to a chemical in conventional tampons or not, it’s safe to assume most women are thankfully not! Plus, Kotex does have products beyond tampons – I wore their pads religiously after Henry’s birth (you bleed for weeks after and can’t insert anything so a cup isn’t an option – I know people use cotton reusable pads but I don’t think that’s for me). Although i don’t use tampons anymore (still no period post pregnancy), I really like Kotex’s mission with their U by Kotex line. I think it is soooo important for women but especially for young girls. Even if it is just part of a new advertising campaign, as you point out. One hand washes another – ya know? Hope that clarifies further 🙂 thanks for your constructive comment!

          • Shannon January 31, 2013, 1:12 pm

            Thanks for the response! I also love the U by Kotex line!

          • Katie January 31, 2013, 2:11 pm

            This was a really eye opening interaction. I loved how you both were so respectful and the responses were so honest. Way to go ladies!

          • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 8:44 pm

            I agree with Katie, I really, thoroughly enjoyed this post and respect all of those involed in promoting self awareness, acceptance and personal responsibility for the care for your body. This topic is so taboo in way too many situations when in actuality, it’s a part of nature that you should never feel ashamed, embarrassed or anything negative towards/about. I will make an exception for cramps though… You can feel negative about those! :p It was more than refreshing to read an interaction within the comments of a blog that was positive and cconstructive input/questioning instead of the all too common snarky, mean, and downright dirty backlash that can come towards a blogger who is simply voicing their opinion(s) on their blog in a non confrontational and non threatening manner.

            Much respect ladies! Wonderfully intriguing and interesting post Caitlin! As always, keep em coming! One question, have you read Vanessa’s book “Read My Lips”? Thanks again!

          • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 9:05 pm

            thanks 🙂

            i haven’t read Read My Lips but I want to!!! Have you?

          • Leslie January 31, 2013, 9:36 pm

            Caitlin, I worked with Vanessa when she was getting her PhD and she is absolutely amazing! When I saw her name on your blog I did a little dance around my office. I’m so excited for you to work with her! The book is excellent and written in a way to educate, but in a fun and engaging way. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

          • Caitlin February 1, 2013, 9:32 am


  • Clare January 31, 2013, 10:29 am

    Sounds like a fun event! Also, I think Clare’s name actually doesn’t have an “i” in it! (Probably something only a fellow Clare with no “i” would notice 🙂

    • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 10:31 am

      Whoops, corrected. 🙂 Thanks for noticing. I want to name our future daughter Claire/Clare – do you find people usually spell it with or without the I?

      • Clare January 31, 2013, 12:14 pm

        Good name choice! Haha. Claire with the I is wayyyy more common and people misspell my name all the time. I have Irish heritage and I guess the spelling of “Clare” with no I just felt more Irish to them (e.g. County Clare in Ireland).

      • alexe January 31, 2013, 12:20 pm

        In French it’s definitely Claire. 😉

  • Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant January 31, 2013, 10:33 am

    I’ll definitely be looking out for the webisodes!

  • Amy Q January 31, 2013, 10:35 am

    You are such a thoughtful and inspirational person who I admire even though I do you not “know” you. I’m anxious to learn more about these women who inspire you!

    • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 10:43 am

      Thanks Amy. I reeeeally appreciate the nice words 🙂

      • Amy Q January 31, 2013, 11:00 am

        I was flying through Charlotte earlier this week and thought of you 🙂 That’s one crazy airport and I remembered why I usually try to avoid it! Nice rockers, though!

        • Whitney January 31, 2013, 12:14 pm

          IMO Charlotte is the least crazy airport and I fly out on the busiest holidays, interesting!

          • Debbie January 31, 2013, 1:03 pm

            Agreed..Charlotte is one of the most easiest airports to navigate!!

          • Amy Q January 31, 2013, 3:08 pm

            It wasn’t that it was hard to navigate….but most airports I have traveled through are not that congested inside at 10pm at night! I have been to many different large airports but do not travel with the regularity of a business traveler. So, who knows. Maybe I hit it on a weird night.

  • Liza January 31, 2013, 10:43 am

    My mom was a nurse and my dad a doctor so I had the period talk and sex talk before it was applicable to me. I got my period when I was 14, but only once. I was a competitive skier and working out all the time made it so I didn’t get my period again until I was almost 18, and even then it would come and go. I stopped skiing professionally when I was 22 and broke my hip on a practice run. I’m 30 now and it is so strange getting my period every month! I’ve only had it regularly for a few years! It’s still so weird to me that our bodies do this and are capable of growing a HUMAN.

    • Caitlin January 31, 2013, 10:44 am

      Haha I agree! It is even weirder when your breasts make food for them to eat.

  • Allison January 31, 2013, 10:47 am

    What a fun day! Seems like an awesome group of women 🙂

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras January 31, 2013, 11:04 am

    This sounds awesome! I can’t wait to see the webisodes!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action January 31, 2013, 11:15 am

    My mom was a nurse, so we always were very open about everything sexual, used full words for our private parts, even now I always say “penis” or “vagina” rather than any slang. I’ll always appreciate being able to talk to my mom about these things- and I greatly love that you’re involved in this for those women who don’t have that kind of relationship with their parents.

  • Jennifer V. January 31, 2013, 11:26 am

    I love seeing all the behind the scenes stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    Ramblings of a Suburban Mom

  • Leianna January 31, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Way cool event. My daughters name is Claire, so beautiful. And crazy about that girl you know works at Blue Bunny. I live 20 minutes from the plant or “Ice Cream Capital of the World” here in Iowa. You should come and do a post on that. The place where you can buy ice cream is such a cool building. Also the Wells family just opened up a non-profit coffee shop called Habitue. Great things happen in Iowa!!!!

    • Maddie January 31, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Iowa rocks! And I love the Ice Cream Capital of the World 😉 So cool you live near there, too!

  • Dominique January 31, 2013, 12:37 pm

    I’m a little disappointed in Kotex for not having a better representation of feminist and women’s health advocates there. It seems to me that they are paying it very safe by not having anyone who might be controversial – which annoys me a little. I’m sure any of the women from, or would have had tons to contribute.

    Also, I’m jealous that you haven’t started a period yet. My daughter was born in June and I’ve been having periods since November even though I’m breastfeeding at night and in the mornings and pumping during the days.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 31, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Oh my gosh, that video!!!! She was banned for saying VAGINA!?!?!?!? That’s absurd. Completely absurd. I am all riled up about that now.

    On another note, glad you’re enjoying NYC and getting to meet all these women! It sounds like fun!

  • Allison January 31, 2013, 1:58 pm

    I live right by the blue bunny plant and my dad worked there for years! How fun to see you mention Iowa 🙂

    • Maddie January 31, 2013, 3:18 pm

      <3 Iowa love <3 😉 Maybe we are neighbors!

  • Sarah January 31, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Hi, just saw you were a little averse to cloth pads in your comment above, and I thought I’d recommend Party in my Pants Pads:

    I’ve been using them for 4+ years for my regular periods, and they are fantastic, even for heavy days. (They also have nursing and postpartum pads.) I have no issues with cleaning them – I just toss them in a mesh bag when they’re soiled, and they’re ok in the hamper for a few days (my periods usually last about 4-5 days). When my period is over, I soak the mesh bag in warm water and some detergent or oxobrite for 30-60 minutes before washing. (The product that Emily recommended yesterday in her cloth diapering post would probably also work – but they say oxyclean is too harsh.) Then I just toss them in the washer on warm (usually in my jeans/towels load). I just lay mine flat to dry, but I think you can dryer dry as well. It sounds like a lot of steps, but it’s all about getting into the routine. It literally adds MAYBE 5 minutes to my weekly laundry routine on the week that I have my period.

    I personally find the total lack of weird chemicals and bleached fibers next to my lady parts to be very nice, in addition to reducing the amount of trash I generate each month. I had a lot of feminine irritation from disposable pads, and they were always ripping even during normal activities. The pads are quite comfortable (even while cycling or in warm weather!) and I’ve never had issues with leakage. They’re made by two sisters and they are extremely cute! They offer a free liner pad (just pay shipping) for the cloth-pad curious. I encourage you to take them up on the offer. This product has definitely changed my life for the better! I tried the Diva cup but didn’t love it (I’ve never really liked tampons), so this is definitely my preferred product.

  • Maddie January 31, 2013, 3:19 pm

    It was SO FUN to finally meet you! So funny how you feel like you know someone so well without ever meeting in real life. Hopefully we’re in the same city again sometime!

  • Olivia January 31, 2013, 3:41 pm

    OMG. Our Bodies, Ourselves was a staple on our table for YEARS when I was growing up! It made it’s first appearance when I got my first serious boyfriend in high school. I swear, every day I would come home from school and it would be sitting on the dining room table (the room you first walk into when you enter the house, so it was like BOOM in all of it’s purple embarassing glory). Each day, I would reshelve that bear of a book — it’s huge!– and each afternoon when I got home from school it would be back on the table. And, no. I never cracked it open. Haha.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 31, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Wow, definitely an interesting opportunity and I’m sure really thought provoking. Over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself much more in tune with my body as I’ve pretty much been forced to understand what it’s doing or not doing and how I’m feeling as a result. Having gone through weekly ultrasounds, cyst/polyp surgery, endometriosis treatment (hello menopause at 24!), and the attempts to bring my body back to a normal state, it’s been quite the journey and I know it’s something I’m going to face for years to come. I’m kind of interested to know more about this roundtable…

  • Amanda January 31, 2013, 4:36 pm

    That looks like an incredible experience! I’d LOVE to be able to do something like that. (Maybe someday, right?) Thanks for sharing!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In January 31, 2013, 5:57 pm

    AWESOME recap! So great to meet you Caitlin!

    A little minor correction – don’t even care if you change it – but my mom gave the talk to two private catholic grade schools! Maybe makes a difference in how the schools approach the sex/puberty talk – this was much more about “growing up” and almost had no speak of sex.

  • Angela January 31, 2013, 6:36 pm

    What an amazing event! I can’t wait to see the webisodes!

  • Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie January 31, 2013, 7:26 pm

    It was so great getting to meet you! You rocked it as moderator. Hopefully we get to hang out more in the future! This was an awesome recap and I’m so glad you got to meet up with your friend afterwards. Did you say vagina like 5 million times talking with her? Because I totally did with my friends at dinner, I was so inspired after our day I couldn’t stop talking about it. My friends are pretty used to my random topic tangents by now. ;p

  • Amber K January 31, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I will never forget my first period experience. In case anyone else is curious for my vaginal talk (i.e. no one) just know that I was wearing gray spandex shorts in P.E. (not my best choice) We were playing volleyball and the ball hit me straight in the crotch and all of a sudden my gray shorts weren’t just gray anymore. I thought somehow that the volleyball had seriously hurt me and my teacher had to explain that that’s not what the problem was.

    I had the WORST cramps I have ever had during a period a couple of classes later and had to go home. My mom’s response? “You are NOT doing this every month.” I never mentioned it aloud if I ever had even mild cramps after that.

  • Cori January 31, 2013, 11:19 pm

    How funny…I went to high school with Dr. Schick! It really is a small world. 🙂

  • Danielle February 1, 2013, 2:04 am

    It was so great to meet you! This was so much fun and I left the event truly inspired by everyone 🙂

  • Marissa Lucero February 1, 2013, 11:14 am

    Oh my gosh, that video was great. Thanks for starting my friday morning off on a funny note!

  • Sophie @ threetimesf February 1, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Haha, so many phones – so typical of bloggers!

  • Christina April 3, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Do you have a link to the episodes? Thanks~

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