Meet Me Monday: Kelsey Butcher

I, honestly, don’t remember where I met Kelsey. I just know that one day she was in my life and she wasn’t, before. And then she became my stylist and I haven’t gone back to anyone else for a haircut since. I really love the work that she does. I’m not the kind of person who generally likes to have a conversation when I’m getting my hair done. I usually like to just sit there and relax. But… Kelsey is an expert at conversation. In such a way that I’m never uncomfortable in her chair at all. If I did just want to sit and relax, though, no one gets it more than Kelsey. Just tell her and she’ll be cool with you.
Since she moved into Fox and Ash earlier this year, I feel like an extra cool kid when I come to get my hair done. Seriously, if you’re looking for a new stylist and you’re in the Central Kansas area or willing to drive to McPherson for that good good, look up Kelsey at Fox and Ash. I don’t know if I’m the best example of the work that she does since I like to wear my hair dirty and messy but if you want to see what she can do, go follow her on Instagram.

image1 (5)
Image Description: Kelsey standing in her studio holding a copy of &/Both magazine open, showing off the page where her poem was published. 

How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always do this? Like, “Hi! Here are a list of all of my great qualities; let’s just ignore those pesky bad ones…” Here’s the truth though… I am compassionate, creative, typically frazzled, fairly impatient, mildly awkward, forgetful, a sometimes writer, a mother to an 8 year old boy and two rescued dog-daughters, a wife of nearly 14 years, one of two daughters to incredibly supportive parents, a proud aunt of 4, a liberal bleeding-heart feminist, someone who often deflects pain with humor, a Broadway enthusiast, and a passionate hair stylist. I mother everyone around me, even if they haven’t asked for it (it’s an attribute and a flaw). I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, The Office, Hamilton, true crime documentaries, CrossFit, This Is Us, podcasts, Rent (the musical, not the bill), and naps. That seems pretty comprehensive.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Pure obligation! Mornings are not my jam. But… what motivates me is building and maintaining relationships, brightening someone else’s day, and finding opportunities to learn new things.

image2 (1)
Image Description: A selfie of Kelsie holding a Hamilton Playbill. She’s smiling bright with red lips and the happiest face.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

  • Leap Fearlessly: I actually have this tattooed on my left foot to remind myself not to allow anxiety to take over. Sometimes you just have to do the things.
  • Let It Be: Because The Beatles, obviously. But also because everything is going to be okay, sometimes you just have to let it be.
  • Namaste: The light in my soul and respects the light in yours. (That’s the way it was taught to me, anyway)

What does your ideal day look like?

Hmmmm… I would start with a coffee date with my mom and sister, followed by a yoga class. Then I would go for a 90 minute deep tissue massage. My afternoon would be spent playing games with my son. The evening would include sushi and drinks with my husband. Then, ending the day, we would hop on a plane with all of our closest friends and head to a tropical location.

You just want to be friends with Kelsey after reading this, right? Ugh, she’s the best. Go follow her on IG and let her know where you found her! And if you need a haircut, you know where to go.

If you have any questions for Kelsey, leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she sees them.


Lastly, if you or anyone you know want to be interviewed for Meet Me Monday, reach out! You don’t have to be fancy or famous. Everyone is normal and everyone is awesome.


A Delicate Man

I have a folder in my email inbox called “Creeps on the Internet”. That’s where I stash emails and screenshots of private messages from strangers on the internet who want me to give them my full attention.
Maybe read the rest of this post with Criminal by Fiona Apple playing in the background because it feels so right.

I’ve been a bad, bad girl
I’ve been careless
With a delicate man
And it’s a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy
Just because she can.

When I first started XOXO, Lib I was so excited about finally having a space that was mine all mine on the internet where I can be who I want to be and say the things I want to say and be my free, true, and authentic self without reservation. And it’s become that place for me for sure. I’ve met so many cool people. I love the community that’s growing in the Facebook group and on Instagram. I love us. A lot.

And things are growing so rapidly and with such gusto–I’m so excited. I can actually see ways that dreams that I’ve had for this platform aren’t pipe dreams. I’m seeing it all come together and when I think about it, I get so excited. Right now, just telling you about it is feeding my spirit in a way that I haven’t felt in a few days.

With a growing platform and more and more readers, it’s natural to get a few creeps thrown in the mix. Especially when you’re talking about fattness, fat fetishism is so real my friends. I’m not mad that the fetish exists. I’m just mad that another person’s fetish turns into a non-consensual situation that I have to find a way to navigate.

I get an occasional dude in my Instagram Direct Messages saying, “Hi.” On my very best days I’m like, “what a lazy dude.” I mean, honestly, why don’t you just come right out and say, “I’d like to have a conversation with you but I’d also like you to do all the labor of starting it and carrying the weight of it all on your own.” Now, these aren’t so bad. Because as loaded as these messages are, they’re super easy to ignore. I just take a screenshot and then block these people and move on wth my day (after I get a collection of “hi” messages I like to post them in my stories to show off how repetitive and unoriginal men on the internet can be).

But then sometimes I get messages from other types of people who want to build a monument to me and hope that I’ll never change my body ever. A lot of times I try to just ignore these messages, too but sometime I just can’t. I gotta know what’s going on in this person’s head. And ten times out of ten, these people haven’t even looked at my profile or my blog or anything. They don’t know who I am at all even! After I reply, they try to strike up a conversation by asking what my name is or where I’m from. Both of those pieces of information are available on whatever platform they used to find me. Which means that they aren’t even remotely interested in me as a person–they’re interested in cruising through a body positive hashtag and then just messaging people indiscriminately. They’re not interested in me, they’re interested in my fattness. They’re not interested in me, they’re interested in what I can do for them. They either want naked pictures or my bank account information. Every. Single. Time.

Last week, a stranger in my Instagram DM’s kept asking me where I was from and I refused to answer him with anything other than, “that information is easily available in my Instagram bio, have you looked at it?” He kept saying, “Of course I looked at your bio I want to love you. So, where are you from?”

The problem, for me, isn’t that I’m frustrated that people are talking to me on the internet. I love talking to people on the internet. Making connections with new people on Instagram is not only one of my favorite joys but it’s also my business. It’s my job. And these people aren’t messaging me on my personal page on my personal time (that one is set to private). They’re messaging me on my business account. And time is money.

IMG_4022Last night, after getting an old fashioned email (yeah, we’re at a stage where email is old-fashioned) from a man named either Douglas or Steve (inconclusive) who wanted to tell me how much he likes/ supports/ is a fan of me and other people like me (note the lack of specifics), I couldn’t take it any more.

[Image description: screenshot of an email from an account belonging to a person called Douglas Winters. The email reads, “Hi. I am a fan and supporter of your blog.
Your blog for plus women is great and it is very nice.I am a fan and supporter of plus women.I have a big appreciation for big women.I am a fan of the plus industry too.I am a big supporter of size equality.Plus models and plus women’s are great.All women should embrace their body and not be concerned to feel that they have to be skinny to fit in with society.I love how plus models and plus women feel confident about them sleeves without having to be skinngy.I am a big fan of plus size women and plus models.I have always supported them too.Plus women and plus models are great.Is it okay to email you and hope it is okay.I am a fan of you and I would really like to keep in touch with you.I want to email you because I am a fan of you and I support plus women too.Hope to hear from you and have a nice day. 

I know as a one-off this email doesn’t seem like much. But imagine that this is the 4th one you’ve received that day and the dozenth you’ve received this week and it’s only frickin’ Tuesday. I sat on the couch with Ryan and I cried a lot. I mostly cried for all the people out there who have it worse than me. I cried for my whole life of being seen as my body before anything else. I cried for the world that gave men this power to (I’m going to quote my friend Courtney here), “just stomp around this planet thinking they can do and say and have whatever they want.” While women are forced into shoes that are created to make us literally tiptoe around the whole world. I cried for the way that these men are allowed to come into my home, into my place of business and ask for my attention for no reason other than the fact that they don’t hate that I’m fat.

I sat there racking my brain trying to figure out how in the hell I can take my power back in situations like these and I came up with an idea. If these people are going to come into my space, into my business and demand my time, I’m going to charge them the same rate–no, higher than I charge everyone else who wants my business on my work time.

So I wrote Douglas/ Steve back and I told him that he’s speaking to me on my business account and I’m sure that he can appreciate that time is money when I’m on the clock. And if he’s looking for my time, it’s going to cost him. So I linked my PayPal account and told him my rates. I’m in charge of this interaction. If he pays me, I’ll tell him about why interactions like these are unwelcome and make me feel unsafe but I don’t have the energy to do the work for all of these men for free.

So here we are. I’ve saved that email into my notes app on my phone and I’ll, from here on out, just copy and paste it to every single man on the internet who wants my time and attention for free.

I haven’t really re-read this post or edited it. I’m just free-writing so I can sort out my thoughts. This isn’t the best/ most eloquent thing I’ve ever written, I just needed to get it out of me so that this bad, objectified feeling doesn’t live inside of me.

Thank you for listening.
I know there are a lot of points of nuance that I haven’t covered. If you’re interested in a conversation about this topic, don’t worry, I probably won’t charge you for it. *wink*


And as always, if you feel the need to come in here and #notallmen me, please know that you’re a part of the problem. Men who know that they aren’t guilty of the behavior that I’m describing and are confident in themselves don’t need my validation which is what this all comes down to, honestly. 

On A Good Day

Today has been one of those days where things are just alive with cohesion and ease. You know those days? Those few-and-far-between-days?

It was my first day back to normal after the relaxed schedule that the holidays afforded us. I’ve been sick for the past week and yesterday was the first day I’ve felt really alive in a while. Today I’m nearly completely back to normal save for some residual sniffles. So I was really really excited to get back into the swing of things. Fall into routine again. I expected that it would be a tough day. I expected that I would have to force myself to work and that it would be clunky and stupid and I would be frustrated.

There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen. –Rumi

I really want 2018 to become the year that I learn how to find, recognize, and work with my flow, so this morning I just practiced it. I let the dog out, put on a pot of coffee, sat down at my desk and thought, “what next? What’s going to get me into a creative space?” So I pulled out my journal and started writing. And it went exactly the way I hoped it would on my most ideal day. One page about, “I don’t know what to write about” leading into another page about the dry, desolate plainscape that is Kansas in January where every comfort is man made. The the polar (pun intended) opposite of Kansas in August. Isn’t it delicious?

I filled two pages and thought what do I need next? I wanted to change my clothes but first I needed a shower. I needed a shower but first I wanted to move my body for a while. So I moved my body for a while and really paid attention to how it felt. How it felt to sweat and how it felt to move gracefully and how it felt to support myself and be caring of myself. How it felt to strip off my clothes and step into a hot shower filled with eucalyptus. I even put my dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Can you even?

And then, since we did laundry last night and I had the pick of every single thing in my entire wardrobe, I got to stand in front of my closet and wonder, “what exactly do I want to put on my body today?” What fabrics do I want to feel on my skin, what colors do I want to glimpse out of my field of vision? I settled on leggings (for full range of motion) and a striped t-shirt and cozy socks.

Just now, I ate a bowl of vegetarian chili and I didn’t eat more than I needed and I didn’t multi-task as I was eating. I was mindful and grateful and thanked past-me for making leftovers for current-me to enjoy. It felt so good. I feel so in-tune with my body and my mind and my needs right now. Like I’m firing on all cylinders.

I’m watching a big black dog run through the back yard behind our house. I love, love watching big dogs run fast. It’s alive-making. Have you ever watched a dog run as fast as it can just for the joy of it? I feel like I’m in tune with that dog, today.

After this, I’m going to sit on the floor and do a guided meditation for creativity before I start working on my other projects. This is what flow feels like, today. This is what I’m like when I’m my very, very best self.

AND also–I know that this is not ordinary. Mornings–especially first-day-back-mornings, are usually at least a little bit annoying. In fact, you’re probably annoyed right now just hearing about how my day is teeming with perfection. I know, if I wasn’t so perfectly mindful and zen right now, I’d be at least a little annoyed at my own self (this is where I’m tempted to employ a winky face emoji).

I could make a mental note to decide to do exactly everything the exact same way that I did this morning so that everything will always feel this good and perfect every single day. And I’ll do those things. And there will be days when things *don’t* go so great. And I’ll get so frustrated because I did everything right. I’ll have ruined this great day by making an example out of it when I could just sit back and soak it in and feel gratitude for the good days.

There’s still a second half of the day ahead of me. A day when I’ll have to work with the general public and when I’ll rely on things outside of my own control to happen in order for me to be able to get to places and do things and there are a hundred things that may go wrong. And they can. Maybe they won’t but they could.

Because things just happen and we respond however we respond and that’s what we’re in charge of. Sometimes the coffee is a little more bitter than you like it and some days you’re wearing that pair of underpants that slides down all day and some days there’s an ache in your neck that you can’t get rid of and some days someone said something so outrageous that you have to talk about it on the internet. I don’t say that to scold us into having better attitudes at all. Do whatever you’re gonna do. But let’s recognize the ownership we have over every moment that we’re in.

Even if the rest of my day happens as seamlessly as the beginning did, there’s still tomorrow. Tomorrow might be hard. In fact, it probably will be quite hard. Especially with a great day like today so fresh in the back of my mind to compare it to. And that’s fine. Every day is a new day with new challenges and new opportunities.

I’m my best self in this very moment right now and so that’s why I’m writing this to remind me, when I’m not my best self, it’s okay to have shitty days. Sometimes our shitty days are just that–just a wash and we’ll be glad when they’re over. But sometimes our shitty days are invitations. Invitations to change. Invitations to take ownership over our moments.

This is me on a good day.

Women Supporting Women on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and I feel conflicted. I know that many out there are celebrating A Day Without a Woman by staying home from jobs and not engaging in paid or unpaid work. I think that’s awesome–we all need to resist in whatever way makes sense to us. And I know that those who strike, do so on behalf of those who can not and that’s the heart of Feminism anyway, isn’t it? So I’m grateful for those.

There are a lot of people who couldn’t contribute to this strike even if they really felt compelled to do it. There are soldiers out there who can’t take a day off. There are mothers out here who need to diaper and nurse their babies. My cost is so much lower–if I don’t engage in unpaid work, I’ll simply go to a restaurant for lunch. My laundry will not get folded for just one more day and there won’t be a blog post here to read. But if I don’t go to work, my bad-ass, lady boss will have to stay late. And sure she could just not go to work but then that’s a whole day  that her store will be closed and that just doesn’t seem realistic.

So because all of this was on my mind, and because I do want to take action to honor the women who came before me to give me the rights that I have, I want to talk to you about another option: support! What if we gave our money to some incredible Women Owned Businesses on this–International Women’s Day? Shall we?

For those of you who are local to the McPherson, Kansas area you have some great options!


Obviously there’s Twice Told Tales, the only used bookstore in McPherson! I work there, so obviously it’s going to be the first shop I mention. I love the way that Jessica keeps the store super duper organized and she fights for the rights of women and girls as a part of her general, personal lifestyle.

Then go next door to the Main Street Deli and eat a delicious, messy, unladylike Reuben sandwich. Get the pie and don’t ever let the words “I’m gonna be bad” ever pass your lips.

Brooklyn and Co and The Cooks Nook are two stores that I love to go to when I want to just browse through some beautiful things. Any time I’m looking for a beautiful gift, these are the spots that I hit up first.

Then, get in the car and drive 10 minutes to Lindsborg where you can visit Connected Fair Trade and then go down the street and finish your day off with a delicious coffee at The White Peacock.

What I just described to you is, like, my ideal afternoon.

Do you live far away or can’t make it out, today? Let’s talk about some incredible online stores that are owned by women and doing good work.

Let’s start with Wildfang: This is where everyone’s getting those Wild Feminist t-shirts. This company is incredible because they focus on clothes that aren’t definitively “feminine” or “masculine”. They’re just great clothes that are awesome. Cool stuff for everyone! I especially adore this Spur T-Shirt Dress.
Wild Feminist»  Tee

Next up, Butter London. This company was started in 2005 by two cool ladies selling high quality, 3-Free nail lacquer. Today their shop sells all kinds of makeup and beauty products. Right now they’re having a really cool mystery sale where they’ll send you 6 full sized items for $35 (a $100 value).
March Mystery Gift! Purchase Your Mystery Gift ($100 value), Only $35 at butter LONDON! Shop Now!

Brit + Co was founded in  2011 and has become one of the largest digital media companies for women. In addition to helpful and insightful articles and products, Brit + Co offers online classes that will help you learn how to do basically anything that you want. Want to take up a watercolor hobby? Cool. Want to start brewing your own beer? Totally. Thinking about how to style your Instagram photos to get more engagement and drive traffic to your blog or website? Got you covered. Become an empowered, educated person!

Finally, let me tell you about Society Plus, a great company founded by plus sized women for plus sized women. Jessica Kane and Michelle Crawford, tried to get their youthful, colorful, fun clothes into department stores but were told that plus sized women wouldn’t buy them. They said that plus size women don’t value themselves so they won’t celebrate themselves in great, fun pieces like this. They were told that they should focus on baggy clothes in dark colors. But they didn’t back down–instead they started their own shop because they believe that fat women deserve to be honored and adorned. That’s why I believe in this company and why I give them my dollars. I also love that they include their model’s measurements and the sizes that they’re wearing so that I can decide if something will work well for me. I am looking for an affordable, maxi dress for my capsule wardrobe and this side-slit maxi is exactly what I’ve been searching for. Oh, did I mention the free shipping event they just happen to be having today?

Are there any great women-owned businesses that you want to plug? Leave them in the comments either here or on the Facebook page so that we can all learn about and support them!

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!