Category Archives: Mugs

Pretty in Petals

I’m lame at titles, I know.

Specs: This average-sized mug has a slightly wider circumference at the top than at the bottom. The handle fits all four fingers if you hold onto the actual handle, as opposed to the handle being a resting place for the back of your knuckles. The outside of the mug features my favorite floral thing (flowers) in flat-er shades of pink, brown, green, and orange. It makes me reminiscent of a living room from the 70s.

Rating: 4/5 stars. It offers great depth as well as flowers. Flowers. Did I mention I love flowers?

Summary: This was another 50 cent thrift store treasure. It’s healthy to be suspicious of second-hand dinnerware, and I usually am. Occasionally some (clean) thing will just reach out and give my heart a squeeze, though. And following your heart (at such a cheap price) is always going to be worth the try.


Northwest Funk

Specs: This is a crazy mug, straight from a beautifully crazy place. Taller than it is wide, this mug gives you an average mug’s worth. Aside from being plastered with memorabilia/landmarks from the great city of Portland (OR), it is also textured with wavy bumps all the way around. The handle fits all four of my little fingers and features a bright orange star, which I like to press my thumb on to feel special.

Mug 20b

The best surprise from this surprising mug, however, is the little bird waiting for you with a rose at the very bottom.

Mug 20c

Rating: 5/5 stars. Easy. Maybe I just REALLY like mugs, but this was totally worth $15.95 (at least there was no sales tax!).

Summary: This mug is my meager explanation as to why I took a short hiatus from blogging–I was on a MUCH needed vacation! I got to meet my boyfriend’s family, read poetry in the woods, eat cheese on a rainy beach, visit a full moon celebration at a hippy tea shop, and explore the overcast city of Portland.

This being my first time in the Northwest, I was gasping over more than how green the very freeway was. The people are crazy, but in a nice, in-your-face kind of way, such  as the lady with frizzy gray hair who “fined” me for “smiling in a no-smiling zone” in an effort to raise money to feed the homeless.

Portland is filled with shiny bricks–that is, bricks literally painted over with sparkles.


And expensive cat pillows.


One of my favorite parts, though, was the giant bookstore called Powell’s Books. That’s where I bought this mug–along with a hundred dollar’s worth of used books, haha.

It’s too good to get out of Utah sometimes.

A Mug with God~

Specs: There’s nothing small about this guy, from the message to the size. This tall mug has space enough to eat cereal out of it. The handle is big enough for all four fingers (my fingers, granted, but the handle is still large). The front of the mug is decorated with some swirly decals and the message, delicately written in golden paint, “With God All Things are Possible.” The lip of the mug is painted a bright yellow.

Rating: 3/5 stars. It’s a mug, check, but it offers too much drink in one sitting for me. Plus cheese.

Summary: Where to start, haha.

I didn’t but or pick this mug out myself, obviously. It was part of an obscure Christmas gift from my sixteen-year-old sister, and I say obscure because it was inside of a purse shaped like a monkey. We’re fans of being random and surprising each other like that.

I don’t think she knew at the time that I was no longer religious–although by Christmas, I hadn’t been going to church for six months–because I didn’t “come out of the closet” until January. My sixteen-year-old sister is a sweetheart, and president of her age group of girls in the church. She talks about going on a religious mission in a couple years and has a bedroom wall plastered in scriptural quotes.

More than anything, this mug reminds me to be respectful to her.

A Mug with a Mission!

Specs: This is a mug round enough to demand both hands. The white porcelain is lined with a mossy green and decorated all round with flowers and butterflies in warm, earthy colors (making me reminiscent of a grandma couch), lending a comfortable, homey feel. Inside, it is deep enough to hold a sponge and a bristly dish wand.

Rating: This mug never actually delivering liquid refreshment to a person’s lips, I feel the highest I can rate it, as a coffee mug, is 4/5 stars. I dig it heartily, and it’s a wonderful size.

Summary: I believe this mug was a replacement Mother’s Day gift my four-year-old brother picked out himself a year ago–and I call it a replacement because the first one he got her was promptly dropped and broken. My brother has a simple strategy when it comes to picking out gifts: He walks into the store and picks the first pretty thing he sees. There’s no dissuading this kid.

This mug found its calling in life as the family’s dish-tools holder. I can’t call this a shame–I’m the only hot-beverage drinker in the house, and having a place to put the sponge certainly keeps the lip of the sink cleaner. It also lends the room a sense of charm, which any place piled high with dishes could use.

Let’s Talk Patriarchy.

This is incredibly difficult for me to write about. It’s a tumor the doctors are still afraid to operate on because its fatty little tentacles wrap around my heart. It’s still cancerous. To make this blog post effective, I have to talk about my personal life.


I wasn’t a Mormon in practice until I was seven years old. I might never have been if my mom hadn’t married Julio.

My mom was a 24-year-old single woman with three kids who made her living by running a daycare in her living room. Julio was an immigrant from South America whose green card was about to expire. Although the signs of emotional abusiveness were visible within the first month of dating, it wasn’t until I took an intro to Psychology class my freshman year of college that we knew that Julio had Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder is colloquially known as psychopathy, or the disorder of being a psychopath. Persons with ASPD is characterized by a violation of other’s rights and a disregard for consequences. They are impulsive and controlling, making them successful in such fields as politics and business. The most damming characteristic of ASPD is the systematic charisma of the person. Often they refuse to see a psychologist because they don’t see or feel that there is a problem. When they do see someone, it’s usually because a family member got them to. Like Julio, however, they maintain such a charming and polite appearance that they walk out of offices still undiagnosed. Sometimes, like Julio, they can flip the tables entirely and get the family member that brought them in diagnosed with something.

Although my mom divorced Julio over a year ago (and has been separated from him longer than that), his disorder still stains every day of my life. My family suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse for twelve years and we are still very much dealing with the aftermath.


One of the first things Julio did to establish himself at the head of his ready-made family was forcing us to go to church. A man who didn’t believe in God took all the necessary steps to obtain the Priesthood, the Mormon God’s ultimate power—reserved only for men.

95% of Sundays during those twelve years, he stayed home in bed. Whenever he was disappointed in me or my sisters, though, he insisted on making us sit down so he could put his hands on our heads, a physical display of his dominance, in the name of giving us a Priesthood “blessing.”

When I believed in God, I knew that a man like Julio did not have the right to give blessings. Julio, the man who makes you eat your puke if you get sick, who makes you hold his steel-toed work boots out in front of you for thirty minutes if you come home three minutes late, who shoved my mom around the workplace, who rubbed his teenage stepdaughter’s backs every night to check what they were wearing because they weren’t allowed to wear bras or underwear to bed—

No god would give a man like that power over me.


Not only did the Church give Julio authority by principle over his all-female family, but when my mom moved to divorce him, the Church shit its pants.

It didn’t matter that her husband was an abusive psychopath and my mother’s catchphrase of the time was “I want to die.” My mother was repeatedly told that she had to stay and work it out by men from the Church who came to lecture my family. She was told the same thing by her LDS therapist.

The icing on the cake is that even though my mom and Julio are legally divorced now, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which my mother believes in, she is still eternally married and bound to him in God’s eyes. She is still sealed to Julio past death and into eternity.

The only way for her to get out of that is if she finds a new man to get herself sealed to.

Because God doesn’t let unsealed women into heaven.


The Mormon organization is obsessed with patriarchy, with men being the head and always having the final word, from the top to the bottom, women and children explicitly subordinated. But I’m not tackling the top of the totem pole (although there’s plenty of examples just from taking in the all-male leaders of the Church and the gender-specific “powers” of the Priesthood). I’m pointing out, with my handfuls of shit and pain, how much harm it has the power to wield behind household doors.

A Mug Worth Graduating For.

Specs: This mug is tall and wide, with a big manly handle for all four of my fingers to wriggle around in. It is a plain, shining white porcelain all around. On the front is featured a picture of the sixteenth president of the United States, framed by an alleged quote of his, reading “Whatever You Are.. Be A Good One!!”

Rating: 5/5 stars. This mug has everything–an inspirational message, simplistic design, and it holds a LOT of coffee. I’m also biased.

Summary: I’m biased because I earned this mug. Two years ago I graduated Valedictorian out of a class of 500, and the day before I graduated as I stood in line to get my cap and gown, the librarian handed me this as well.

This quote of Lincoln’s was the theme for the class of 13, and as such, it’s the quote I based my speech on. In between quoting Dumbledore and my wacky physics teacher, I took the graduating message to heart and tried to articulate it as earnestly as an 18-year-old could.

I’m proud of the message I shared with my class of 500 and the 2,000 spectators that day. Even though religion was still a huge area of trepidation for me back then, my heart was in the right place as I told everyone that nothing counts in life but your own happiness and satisfaction.

Two years later I’m walking like I’m talking.


When the silver lining fades…

Specs: This decent-sized plain mug makes elegant use of its white porcelain exterior with its ribbed lines. With a slightly funnel-esque body, it’s a stretch to fit one fist in there, but you’ll be surprised to find that it holds all the chair you wanted in the first place. A shred of silver lining still clings to the handle, which is comfortably curved to allow 2-3 fingers.

Rating: 3/5 stars. It does its job of getting me through caffeine headaches (I recently moved back home for the summer) quite well.

Summary: I’ve been relying a lot on this little guy since moving back in with my mother and siblings while my boyfriend is working a couple states away. Suspicious of instant coffee, I’ve been sticking to tea every afternoon after I get my brother off to kindergarten and get a couple hours of peace.

This mug is part of an entire dishware set that was a Christmas present for my mother years and years ago. Not only is it one out of six mugs (~3 of which remain), but it also matches a set of bowls and fancy plates. When brand new, every item had a lining of silver around the rim.

Now–except for the plates, which we rarely use because we’re not that fancy–the silver has been all but rubbed off by the years of grubby fingers and dishwasher soap.

Some things simply aren’t as attractive as they used to be. What’s more, some things fade away that can never come back, even if you tried painting them back on. Sometimes, when things are rubbed down to the bone, you’re left with something simply useful.