Ellen’s Favorites: July 2021

I’m a day late in posting this, but time is an illusion, so I’m not too worried. Here are some of my favorite things from July 2021, from rainbow hair to the best lip balm ever!

Colorful Hair

Sooooo for most of June and July I had rainbow hair and it was amazing and I would recommend that every single person who has ever thought about doing it…JUST DO IT.

I went to Seattle salon Coupe Rokei for the ‘do in honor of Evening’s Pride month coverage. Keep in mind, this was my very first time getting a “fun” dye job. So while I was excited, I was also low-key terrified I would hate it and have to walk around with eye-catching hair for six weeks.

LOL, that definitely did not happen.

I’ve since returned to Coupe Rokei for a refresh – check out my new look here – but it was such a fun experience that I definitely want to do again at some point in my life.


Graphic Novels

As I’ve mentioned before, I love reading like the Barefoot Contessa loves Jeffrey. However, I’ve always stuck to standard novels rather than graphic novels. Sure, I read Maus and Persepolis in high school, but besides those I’ve strictly stuck to the written word.

UNTIL NOW.

I don’t know what’s going on with me. First rainbow hair, and now a sudden interest in comicbooks? What am I, sixteen and rebelling against my parents?

Anyway, on a whim I picked up the high fantasy graphic novel Monstress. It was such a rich and beautiful story, and the gorgeous illustrations made it even better. It was such a refreshing change, it made me wonder what other options were out there. So, once again on a whim, I dropped some cash on Paper Girls and Something is Killing the Children. Can’t wait to read them.


Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm Peach

Like many, I am a lip balm aficionado. I am constantly searching for the Holy Grail of lip balms to banish chapped lips, my search never-ending and fruitless…

UNTIL NOW.

On a whim (are you sensing a theme here?), I bought the Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm Peach from Target because I like peaches and I was hashtag-influenced by the adorable packaging. I had never really heard of Lanolips, let alone knew what the heck lanolin is.

Surprise! Lanolin is, according to the Lanolips website, “a deeply moisturizing oil naturally occurring in sheep’s wool”. And lemme tell you, those sheepies are doing the Lord’s work by producing that oil in their wool, because this is one of the best balms I’ve ever used. I slap this on my lips at night and wake up with a perfectly moisturized smile.

The peachiness is a scent rather than a flavor, but that doesn’t matter because I am definitely not licking my lips when I use this. I’m cool with lanolin and all, but I’m not trying to ingest oil from sheep’s wool. I mean, no disrespect if you are. This is a judgement free zone.


New City, New Job, New Blog Post!

Hello there!

Long time no see, right? It’s been a minute…

Well, I won’t keep you waiting. I moved and got a new job!

I am now part of KING 5’s Evening Magazine team in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington.

Evening Magazine airs at 7:30pm PT, Monday through Friday. It’s a show about everything Pacific Northwest- the people, the places and the food that makes Seattle (and beyond) so unique!

I’ll be reporting, shooting and producing for the show. My formal title is Multi-Platform Producer. I’ve already been able to see some pretty cool sights thanks to my job- like this $18 dollar hot dog at Deep Dive bar!

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Yes, that’s caviar on a hot dog!

Will I continue running this blog? You bet! What will I post? Pretty much what I post now- whatever I want!

Thanks for reading this slightly self-indulgent post. Now, back to unpacking. I promise I’ll have some meatier content soon. Meatier than an $18 hot dog? We’ll see.

My Tinnitus Article

Above is the photo of a very proud, very excited woman, holding the most challenging and rewarding article she’s ever written (so far).

I’m going to talk about that article soon. But first, I think you all need some background.

In February 2014, I lost the ability to experience silence.

To put it less dramatically, I developed tinnitus. It’s a medical condition that produces a sound in your ears only you can hear- a ringing, a hissing, a buzzing, a murmuring.

For some people, it’s temporary. It’s the ringing in your ears after a night at a loud concert. For others, it’s permanent. It can occur after you catch a cold, or develop an ear infection. There are dozens of reasons why someone develops permanent, or chronic, tinnitus. I’m one of those people.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, about 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus. 2 million suffer through “extreme and debilitating” cases. That’s akin to a roaring train, or a blaring fire alarm, trapped in your head.

Tinnitus can lead to depression and anxiety, or make mental health conditions worse if you already have them. Severe cases can lead to suicide.

When I first developed tinnitus, it was a struggle to adapt to my new normal. My life was a chaotic mess of anxiety, a common feeling for many people immediately after they develop the condition. The loss of silence is something so nebulous and strange, it was hard to process. Lots of sleepless nights, and worry, and wondering if it could get better.

My tinnitus didn’t get better, but I did. Four years later, I still have the condition, but I’ve learned to manage it and live a very happy, healthy life. My tinnitus is close to background noise now, but it’s never quite left my mind.

I’ve never been able to forget how alone I felt when I first developed it. I know there are other people who were in the same place I was four years ago.

That’s why, in September, I reached out to the American Tinnitus Association, a national non-profit that publishes a quarterly magazine, Tinnitus Today.

Eight months later, I’m incredibly happy and proud to present my article in their Spring 2018 edition, “Pursuing Dreams, Life, and Joy…Despite Tinnitus”. It’s on page 26. In case you want to read it. Hint, hint.

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I wanted to tell my candid story, how tinnitus has affected my life, and how I’ve coped with it after four years. Writing this article brought back tough memories I had long buried, but it was absolutely worth it. I can’t thank the American Tinnitus Association enough for giving me a chance to tell my story.

And…that’s that. I’ve bared (part of) my soul, and I’m feeling happy and proud and nineteen different other things. It would mean the world to me if you read my article. Pass it on if you know someone with tinnitus.

As I’ve said before, if I make one person feel less alone, it was worth it.

Click here to see more of my published writing. If you’d like me to write for your publication or website, send me a note!

Eye Candy: The Harassment in Local News You Don’t See

In June, a man I’ve never met messaged me on my professional Facebook page and asked me to have his children.

beautiful babies

I could fill this entire blog post with harassing comments and gross requests from people I’ve never met and never want to meet. I’ve had a man tell me my skin makes him want to waltz. One guy asked me if he could be my slave.

There’s an old local TV news saying. Every day, people invite you into their homes. You’re on their TV every day, delivering them information. They put their trust in you, they learn things from you, and after awhile, they get to know a part of you- the public part. You become a slice of their lives, and a part of their city.

Many times, it can be a wonderful thing. People say hi to you on the street and compliment your stories. An older woman might bring baked goods to your TV station. You know almost every neighborhood and every street in your town. It’s an amazing feeling.

And then, sometimes, it’s different. Sometimes, people believe they have a right to your body, whether you like it or not. They think they own a part of you, because you’re on TV in their town, and you’re a pretty girl in a pretty dress who’s there for their entertainment. It doesn’t matter what’s in your head, or how hard you worked on your story.

Harassment in the media is a problem- that’s clear. The recent news about Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer cements that reality. That’s another blog post for another time.

But there’s another problem running through local TV news that affects women daily.

Harassment from the people who watch the news.

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It’s the guy who screams, “F**k Her Right in the P***y” behind your live report. Or the local woman who sends you racial slurs because she doesn’t like the way you look. Or the man who sends flowers to your station over and over again. This is a pervasive issue. For the hundreds of young women in local broadcast news, there are thousands of stories of harassment.

And some of those women shared their stories with me.

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One of the many screenshots women in the business shared with me.

Imagine this. You’re a young woman in your first or second job. You’re hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from your family. Surviving on slim paychecks, living alone, and working odd hours. Usually, thanks to social media- it’s relatively easy to find out where you are at any given moment.

And, along with some guy who wants you to kick him in the balls, you’re dealing with people like this:

Harassment Post

Outside harassment is so commonplace, it’s basically become part of the job. You’re a public figure in a small town, a woman always dressed up and made up. Your first creeper is a right of passage. A weirdos obsessed with your shoes is a hilarious screenshot. It’s something to laugh about at drinks with fellow reporters- unless it isn’t funny anymore.

It’s a reality for women. For men. It’s even worse for journalists of color and LGBTQIA journalists.

I’ve tried to understand why these people threaten and harass journalists. Is it power? Sex? They’re just inappropriate weirdos and creeps?

I don’t know. But I do know these people are harassers, and what they’re doing is inexcusable.

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The wild and wonderful world of local news take its reporters everywhere- it’s amazing, and exhilarating, and many times, these young journalists do it alone.

It’s less amazing when you’re constantly worried about the man who pretends to offer reporters jobs before sexually harassing them. Or mentally preparing yourself when an older man approaches you while you’re reporting, and you can tell by the look in his eye that he’s going to say something lewd and offensive.

The kick in the chest doesn’t just come from harsh words or threats to safety. It’s the complete disregard for your intelligence and hard work. It’s that squirming feeling in your heart when you realize that many people consider women in TV news, first and foremost, eye candy.

we determine which news to watch by who has the prettiest girls

As women, and as public figures, too many TV newsers are taught to be polite and friendly. It goes against years of conditioning and stereotype to flip the switch and be aggressive. Even now, when I deflect any kind of harassment, there’s still a little twinge of guilt that I have to brush away.

As I wrote this article, I read a lot of stories from women in the business. At the end of many of them, they asked: Next time this happens, what should I do differently?

Should they be more aggressive? Smile and try to be polite? Every question was filled with a vague sense of guilt and one damning thought: Am I overreacting?

And you know what? That’s happening to me right now, as I write this post.

Let’s go back to the guy who wanted me to have his children. When I responded to him, he got angry.

“There’s a thousand other half-cute journalism grads who’ll easily replace your milquetoast-ass tomorrow. So don’t flatter yourself. No one gives a shit about you.”

His rejection-fueled rage was pretty obvious, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me.

Because, for awhile, I thought he was right. Who would give a shit about some small-town news girl getting creeped on? We’re a dime-a-dozen, generally represented in popular media as vapid bimbos with half a brain.

I sat on this post for months. I started working on this in late spring, but every time I came close to publishing it, doubt started worming its way into my heart. A little voice, whispering at me:

Who cares?

And then, other women began stepping forward, in other industries. Allegations emerged.

And the more women I saw come forward to tell their story, the more people reacted. Other woman, echoing that feeling of helplessness. Of weakness. And I realized that these experiences, no matter how slight or different, absolutely do matter.

I’m tired of getting messages that make me feel ashamed, or have me looking behind my shoulder when I walk to my car at night. I’m tired of talking with other women in the business, feeling their fear and shame, hearing their stories like confessions.

Creeper for Canva 2

And when I got tired of the man asking me to have his children, I went to my station about it. Not all stations are supportive when women come forward with their concerns, but mine was. They supported me whole-heartedly. I got in contact with our local police, who also supported me and assured me that it wasn’t a foolish move to report the message.

That experience was one of the two bright spots in this whole mess. The other?

The women I spoke with.

Despite this barrage of threats, sexual requests and invasions of privacy, the woman journalists I spoke with still press forward in their passion. Journalism is already an emotionally and mentally taxing business- to also deal with external threats and still create compelling stories is a testament to the strength of women working in the business.

Many thanks to Vox for republishing my piece.

If you’re a journalist who feels threatened by a harassing message or personal interaction, tell your news director and contact police.

NOTE: I would like to thank all of the women who shared their stories with me. This post wouldn’t be a reality without them.

NOTE II: Harassment is a reality for journalists, no matter what gender you identify as. However, I’m writing from my perspective as a woman, and chose to keep my focus on events close to my own experiences.

Do you want to share your story? Do you have thoughts on this topic? Comment below or email me at ellenmeny@gmail.com. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

© 2017 Ellen Meny

5 Spooky Podcasts To Get You Ready for Halloween

Happy October, ghosts and ghouls! When I’m not writing about my life as a journalist, or tracking down a creepy caller, I love listening to podcasts.

And, I love all things Halloween and horror. Whether it’s paranormal pondering or true crime terror, I’m there. For my contribution to this spectacular month, I’m bringing you my five favorite petrifying podcasts.

Spooked

icon_549547848-07dc738ba003fbb91d35f0b9dfddd8508a55a8a1-s300-c85Gather ’round the campfire. Hug that blanket tighter around your neck. It’s time for some scary stories…and with Spooked, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home!

Dingy bars, lost in time. Mysterious creatures on the US border. A forlorn ghost holed up in a house. Spooked features people from around the world, recounting their ghostly encounters and paranormal experiences. The storytelling is fantastic, the audio quality is crisp, and narrator Glynn Washington is perhaps my favorite narrator I’ve ever encountered in a podcast.

What really seals the deal for me? I’m pretty tough to scare- but this podcast had me checking under the bed before I went to sleep…

My Favorite Murder

600x600bbImagine you and your two best friends, sitting in your apartment, talking about social issues, true crime, and the drama of your lives. That’s My Favorite Murder in a nutshell!

It’s described as a “true crime comedy podcast” and hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, two witty women obsessed with crime and mystery. Each week, the ladies discuss their…favorite murders, and the stories behind them. Choice quotes include, “Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered”, and “Toxic masculinity ruins the party again!”.

Special props to Karen and Georgia’s openness about their mental health, and encouraging the destigmatization of mental illness.

Dirty John

DJ-300-300x300Dirty John is a lot of things- a terrifying look inside domestic abuse, a cautionary tale of who you can trust, a deep-dive into local journalism. But at the heart of it, it’s a story that makes the listener well-aware that monsters can take human form.

LA Times Christopher Goffard introduces you to the dramatic story of Debra Newell and John Meehan. Newell thought she met the man of her dreams- it turns out, John was more of a nightmare.

Dirty John features six articles you can read after or before you listen to each episode. They’re not required reading, but they enhance the story even further.

Last Podcast On The Left

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What do a six foot seven politician, an obsessive radio-man and a lunatic actor all have in common? A love for all things criminal, paranormal and generally odd.

Last Podcast on the Left is both incredibly informative and hilarious. Each episode, the boys of LPOTL tackle a different topic in the world of the bizarre. From the Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton, to Scientology, to Norwegian Black Metal- each episode is chock-full of information meticulously collected by the three hosts; Ben, Marcus, and Henry.

This podcast is extremely NSFW. Save your listening for in the home, on your earbuds, or in the car. And don’t go through any drive thrus if you choose the last option.

The NoSleep Podcast

logoNosleep is a website where horror writers share their short stories of the macabre and maladjusted. Many of the stories are ripe for narration- and thus, the existence of the NoSleep Podcast.

David Cummings and his merry band of talented narrators aurally illustrate stories that scare, disturb, and, once in awhile, delight. Tales of disappeared cross-continental flights, evil spirits summoned from beyond, a man desperately in need of a plumber.

This is a priced podcast- $20 for a season and hours of content. There are lots of free episodes, but I would recommend taking the plunge and buying a full season.

And hey, if you listen back far enough- you might hear a story written by yours truly


Plenty of creepy content to get you through Halloween, and beyond- because I think a little scare does a body good anytime of the year. Happy haunting, and enjoy listening!

Did I miss any of your favorite podcasts? Let me know. Comment below or contact me on my Facebook Page. You can follow me on Twitter, too.

A Visit to Blue Pool

The Tamolitch Falls Blue Pool is remarkable.

A glance at the photo above, and you’ll understand why. It is literally a hidden gem on the McKenzie River Trail, a shimmering pool of brilliant, topaz water. You first come upon it from above- a sudden oasis in the forest around you, a shock of color against the rich green and brown of Oregon.

Another remarkable trait? The nickname. Blue Pool. So very to the point. I love it.

Blue Pool is part of the McKenzie River, but the pool is filled from underground. The river water flows up through ancient lava rock at the bottom of the pool, filling the basin.

IMG_5012The most popular way to get to the pool is a 2 mile hike from a trailhead that does not say it takes you to Blue Pool. The first time I visited the trail, someone tried to be helpful and stapled a piece of paper to a log. It said “BLUE POOL 2 MILES”. It kind of looked like a sign a criminal would use to try and trick someone into getting kidnapped. Still, it lead me the right way.

As you continue on the path, the ancient land shifts from soft dirt underfoot and towering trees, to craggy rock that threatens to trip you if you’re not careful. The air smells clean here, tinged with pine.

IMG_5014While the path changes, your companion of the roaring McKenzie River remains constant, following you all the way to the pool. At times, it’s churning rapids. Others moments, it’s a quiet, clear brook under a crude wood bridge, worn smooth by thousands of shoes.

Your first glimpse of Blue Pool will be from overhead. The path leads to a rocky overlook, abundant with large, flat stones- perfect makeshift seats. Look below and you’ll see the vast swatch of crystalline blue, sometimes peppered with people lounging on the right bank or scurrying along the rocks.

It is possible to reach the banks of the pool. The trek there involves light rock climbing, navigating heavy brush, and shimmying down a steep embankment to the pool.

Once at the bank, you’re treated to an up-close view of the shimmering water. On a hot day, after a two mile hike and crab-walk down a steep hill, it looks tantalizing. You have to jump in.

Potentially reconsider.

Blue Pool is cold. In early summer, it is truly, painfully cold. My friend and I entertained the idea of jumping in. We waded into the water- it felt like walking through a tub of melting ice. My feet started to hurt almost immediately. We decided to pass.

Blue Pool

It lives up to its name.

Some people do swim in the pool, later in the summer, but be careful if you do. According to Eugene, Cascades and Coast, the pool is a steady 37 degrees.

I settled for dipping my hair into the water, which sounds weird, but in retrospect was a fantastic idea. The extra cold water made my hair very soft. It felt like Mother Nature herself blessed me with fabulous hair.

An Important Note If You Use Google Maps to get to Blue Pool. Google Maps has Blue Pool listed as a destination, but that won’t get you to the most popular trailhead. Instead, when you’re on Highway 126, keep an eye out for a lefthand turn onto an unmarked road with an EWEB power station. On Google Maps, it’s marked as NF-730.

Oregon is somewhat funny in that way. One of the most spectacular natural wonders in the state, and the most popular way to get there remains unmarked and somewhat hidden. But I suppose there’s something exciting about a stunning secret hidden deep within one of Oregon’s forests.

You can find it- it just takes a little work.

 

Two Years Later

I don’t know how else to say this, so I’ll start with a comfortable phrase.

Time flies, doesn’t it?

It’s been about two years since I last posted on my blog, but that doesn’t mean I ever forgot about it. Rather, it’s been on my mind quite often- but every time I sat down to write a post, I found myself straying away, or losing interest. Sometimes, I was a little worried about what people would think of me- was I still good enough?

In college, my blog primarily featured my journalism- now, life is a little different. I’m a broadcast journalist. My work is featured on KVAL News in Eugene, Oregon. I report, I anchor newscasts and I have my own food show. Yes, I am incredibly lucky- I’m paid to eat and talk about food once a week!

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Being a food show host- an immensely challenging job.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: I’m hoping to revive this blog, but it will be a little different than before. I’m still trying to figure out what that entails- whether that’s snapshots of my life, my fiction writing, or something more.

Two years is a long time, as quickly as it seemed to pass. People change; things change; blogs change! But as scary as change can be, it can ignite new ideas and open up new paths.

Let’s see where those paths lead.

Ellen Meny Graduated!

Hello readers!11154623_10153232258467969_8868063580344890517_o (1)

This is your intrepid blogger checking in to announce that I graduated from Clemson University on May 8th! I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science.

Although it bordered on 2 and a half hours, the graduation ceremony was very nice and well-organized. Around 3000 students graduated that day. Hundreds of other students and I celebrated our big day with decorated caps. I’m in the boat of “go big or go home” for grad caps, as you can see by the photo at the bottom of this post!

The photos on this post, excluding my grad cap, were taken by the very talented Christine Galligan. I’m giving her free press because I was so happy with my photos.

Last month was a whirlwind of getting ready for graduation and “the real world”, so I didn’t have as much time to give to this blog as I would’ve liked. However, I’m looking forward to more posts in the upcoming weeks and months! See you soon!

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