Tag Archives: Eco-Friendly

(wo)menstruation: Trying a Menstrual Cup for the First Time

Word Count
Vagina: 8
Blood: 7
Insertion: 10

In an effort to be more cost efficient and environmentally conscious, I purchased a menstrual cup (MC) back in October. It had arrived at the perfect time as my period started the day after it came in the mail and, as any millennial would do, I documented my experience on my Instagram (which has been shamelessly plugged here).

Before giving my thoughts, I was curious to know how much my followers knew about the cup. The results weren’t all that shocking to me. Only 16 out of 108 voters had tried/used an MC and 3 out of the 16 were guy friends trying to screw up my data (Calling you out Russell, Francis, and Devonte).

As a preface, I want to first mention that my goal here isn’t to provide a thorough, informational guide on what cup to use and how to use it, although I will touch upon some details here. I’m in no way an expert, and I wouldn’t want to lead anyone astray! Nor is my aim to convince you to buy a one, but if you did that’d be great. My goal is simply to share my own experience. And should any questions arise from that, feel free to leave it in the comments down below. I’d be glad to share more!

What is a menstrual cup?
Simply put, it’s a cup you insert into the vagina during menstruation. When the cup reaches capacity or after 8-12 hours, you empty the cup into the toilet, sink, etc., clean it, and reinsert it.

Product Details?
After a lot of research I finally settled on an MC that I felt would fit me best. You can find this brand here on Amazon.
IMG_4096Brand: Intimina
Model: Lily Cup A
Capacity: 18ml
Dimensions: Size A: 3.07 x 1.57 x 1.57 in.


Unlike popular cups like the Diva Cup, Lunette, or the Lena Cup, the opening of the Lily cup is slightly slanted. It also comes with a nice pouch to carry it around in. There are many different brands, so make sure to research which one would make your vagina most happy.

The stem is also quite long, so I trimmed off maybe half an inch of it. Many sites recommend you do this. The MC shouldn’t extend past your opening and if it does, you’re likely to experience chaffing.

I tried different folds to make insertion easier. My two favorites are the taco fold and the punch down fold. The former is basically rolling the cup like it were a burrito and the latter is pushing down on one end of the rim as shown in the picture down below.

Did it hurt? No. But the first time using it was uncomfortable. With practice, however, that feeling went away.

Did I feel it inside me? No. When inserted correctly, I sometimes forget it was even there.

Let’s get to the question everyone has on their mind: okay but using an MC in a public restroom is gross?

My first time cleaning out my MC in a public restroom was definitely nerve-wracking, BUT this is mainly because I was worrying about it so much. It’s not as weird once you get accustomed to it.

Was it messy? No. If you’re concerned about blood splashing everywhere, that did not occur at all for me.

Did I get blood on my hands? YES. But only the tips of my fingers. I should also mention that I do bring wipes inside the stall. To prevent this, bear down on the cup using your vaginal muscles and the cup should lower enough for you to get in and get out with little to no damage done. This also depends on how low/high your cervix is. You could also cover your hands with toilet paper when pulling it out.

As for cleaning, since I couldn’t always mosey off to the sink and rinse out my cup, I used toilet paper/baby wipes to wipe the inside after I dumped the blood into the toilet. This should work fine and most users will tell you this as well. IT’S NOT AS GROSS AS YOU MAY THINK.


  1. Durability and Security:
    MCs  supposedly lasts hella long–– 10 years. And because I am not the plan ahead/track your cycle typa girl having the security of an MC always on hand was golden.
  2. Safety:
    It’s more hygienic than pads and it’s a lot safer than tampons (as it lowers the risk for TSS*).

    *note: While Toxic Shock Syndrome is most commonly connected to tampons, it can be acquired from a variety of (non-period related) things. So using a menstrual cup does not mean you will never get TSS, though the risk is very rare.

  3. Eco-Friendly and Cost Efficient
    If you’re aware of our environmental crisis, you might have heard that pads and tampons are not necessarily recyclable, although there are efforts to combat this (Check out LOLA  for more details!). Because MCs last longer, the need to purchase non-recyclable menstrual products is hardly ever a factor.
  4. Less Time in Between Changes
    Because the MC hold your period blood instead of absorbing it, I didn’t need as many stops to the bathroom as I used it. An MC can be left inside for a longer amount of time as it holds anywhere between 18 ml to 30 ml of blood. To put that into perspective, the average period is between 10 ml – 35 ml of blood. If it’s inserted correctly, it shouldn’t leak, which is something that always occurred when I used a tampon for more than half an hour. BUT MAYBE I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

    On lighter days, I’d go to the bathroom maybe twice every 10 hours and that’s just to check if I leaked–– which wasn’t usually the case.On my heavier day (usually the second day), it’s a different story. Using a pad/tampon I’d go to the bathroom maybe 5 times every 10 hours. Using an MC I’d go around 3-4, which really isn’t that big difference. Again, I’d like to share that I’m still relatively new to using one so this might lessen with time.

  5. Suited for active lifestyles
    I had no problems using it while I went for a run or for the one time I went swimming. I didn’t have to worry about hygiene (as much as I usually do) and changing it out right after a run as I would with a pad and I didn’t worry about leaking as I would with a tampon.

I’m going to be real with you. As great as I believe MCs to be, there were a few cons I want to address here. It is also important to note that practice and consistent usage will definitely help or solve many of these issues.

  1. Hard to Open??
    Anyone who says an MC is easy to use IS A DAMN LIAR. While the benefits outweigh the cons, you really have to become intimate with your vagina and the cup when first using it.

    The Lily Cup material is extremely soft and very malleable. For some women, this might be ideal, but this made it difficult for me to open it up once inside my vagina because my pelvic floor muscles are relatively strong (weird flex, but ok?). And in order to prevent leakage, the cup literally has to suction onto your vaginal walls and the rim has to open up from the fold you used to insert it. That being said, it was especially challenging for me as I had been a first time user and was still learning the tips and tricks of using an MC.

    The second month was a lot easier. I spent a lot less time trying to get it to open as I had a better idea of what my vagina needed. I’d say the first month I’d spend 10 minutes on average in the bathroom trying to insert the damn thing correctly. The second month, I spent 3-5 minutes. Pretty good improvement, I’d say. I am still planning to buy a brand with firmer resistance to see if it really is just the cup or if I’M JUST INCOMPETENT.

  2. Leakage???
    One of the pros of a menstrual cup is that it does not leak. Caveat: it does not leak if it’s inserted correctly. Because learning to use the cup is the upward battle, I did experience leakage my first time using it. I will say, however, that when I did leak, it was not nearly as much as when I would use a tampon–– often times, it was just some minor spotting. I’d also like to note that I only leaked on my heavier days. The second month I used it I hardly leaked at all. Because of this, I do suggest wearing a liner on your heaviest day or the first time you try one–– at least until you get used to it.
  3. Cleaning
    Using a cup requires maintenance. You can’t just use it and throw it away like you would a tampon or pad. Before and after each cycle, you have to boil the cup in water for a good 5-8 minutes. So you will have to reserve 5-8 minutes of preparation after you discover you got your period. I could have avoided this wait time if I had some foresight and prepped my MC as I got nearer to my due date rather than waiting for the day my period actually came.

I’d like to conclude this section of my MC journey by letting y’all know I will have a part 2 to this post where I answer the questions others had sent to me and share some of the tips and tricks that helped me best. Before then, feel free to leave any questions you may have or share your experiences and insights down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

A World Without Bees

By Via Justine De Fant

The first time I came into contact with a bee, I was four, naive, and playing with flowers in the backyard with my dad. Imagine my surprise when, upon picking up a wildflower, I felt a sharp sting on my arm and noticed nothing except for the gangly petals and yellow center of the flower I held in my hand. Completely distraught I ran to my father and cried, “Daddy, the flower bit me.” Of course, I was too young to understand that flowers didn’t possess that capability and I promised myself never to trust another pretty thing again. Now, that mentality lasted up until first grade, but that’s an entirely different article.

The second time I came into contact with bees, I was in the second grade, a little less naive, and playing a game of tag with my friends. All seemed to be going well until I ran smack dab into a bee hive and received not just one, but two stings. With my dad unavailable to guide me and through the prompting of my all too eager classmates, I peed on my arm to relieve the pain of the sting not realizing that the school nurse had a better method awaiting me. Thus, grew my disdain for these small critters for being responsible for the humiliation I still cringe from to this day.

Fast forward to middle school when I first watched Bee Movie with Jerry Seinfeld, where a human and a bee fall in love. I won’t pain you with the details, but suffice it to say that it did not aid my perception of these insects in the least. The release of this movie, coupled with the fact that my father is deathly allergic to bees worked to solidify my distaste for them. Or so I thought.

It goes without saying that my appreciation for these small creatures is one recently formed. It wasn’t until I took a class in environmental philosophy and learned more about climate change and Colony Collapse Disorder that I realized the severity of the effects of their impending extinction. Delving more into this issue, I gained insight into our busy friends and found that my dislike for them was unjustified.

For one, bees truly are magnificent creatures. We swat at them when they buzz by or run in the other direction when they come towards us, but remain completely unaware of how much these coin-sized creatures contribute to our everyday lives. Not only are they responsible for 80% of pollination that goes down, but also nearly ⅓ of our diet consists of produce that bees pollinate– this includes food such as almonds, strawberries, mangoes, apples, and a plethora of other produce. In fact, they are the only insects that create food that humans can eat. One in every 3 bites of our diet is possible because of bees.

More than that, they are hardworking and highly intelligent. Worker bees are disciplined and highly organized. They are constantly at work transferring pollen and seeds from one plant to another. This aids in reproduction and cross-pollination, which creates diversity within plant life. Which, as we didn’t learn from Hitler, is essential for survival of all species. Furthermore, bees are known to recognize human faces and are natural born architects. In fact, Thomas Hales, an American mathematician, proved that the geometry of honeycombs is the most beneficial shape that they could have created. The hexagonal shape of a honeycomb allows for the most storage of honey with the least amount of wax needed to create the structure. In addition to this, when bees find that their hives to be insufficient to their growing colonies, each working bee swarms and searches for a new place to stay. Despite these creatures seeming to be a monarchy, they practice democracy within their community by voting on whether or not they find their potential new home to be sufficient to the current population.

By now, I’m sure you get it. Bees are freaking cool. But big deal, right? Why should you care? Let’s delve into the science of it all.

Some might assume that the extinction of bees would hardly cause a dent in our everyday lives. How can such a tiny creature create such a cataclysmic change? But in actuality, the absence of them would not only directly affect our environment, but also create a domino effect that would lead to numerous negative impacts. They account for the pollination of nearly a quarter of a million plant species. Because of this, plants rely on them to help them reproduce and through that feed the livestock we rely on for meat. Without them, we would be seeing a lot less bacon and steak in our menus. Worse than that, imagine a world without honey. With their demise comes the end of organic honey that has been shown to yield many health benefits.

In addition to this, our economy would take a hit. If there were fewer bees, natural tasks such as cross-pollination would have to be done by hand which is an arduous and cost-consuming process. Bees are responsible for the production of at least 80% of the world’s fruits and vegetables and they account for around 200 billion dollars worth of agriculture revenue.

Their extinction would entail a rise in cost for fruits, vegetables, and produce overall. Although the impact might not seem as severe at first, over time that money will accumulate. This would mean less money to spend on things like your tuition and Beyoncé tickets.

If that’s not enough for you, wait till I tell you about this next horror: no coffee. Because bees are responsible for pollinating the seeds we grind for coffee, also known as coffea arabica, without them you would no longer be able to buy your favorite overpriced Starbucks drink and you’d have to deal with people who need their Matcha Latte double whipped cream two shots of espresso in order to be pleasant during the day.

You might be thinking, “Well, what if I’m not particularly fond of coffee anyways?” To which I ask you, “Are you a fan of comfortable clothing?” In the United States, cotton is the largest cash crop and one of the most affordable fabrics we wear. Just like coffee, it requires the aid of bees to help them grow and reproduce. That would mean a significant lack of production for clothing, mattresses, and every day household goods such as paper towels and tissue paper.

So how can we fix this and keep all the benefits that follow our tiny, buzzing friends?

First we must consider why they are dropping in numbers. For the past decade, beekeepers have noticed a sharp decline in the bee population. This is more commonly known as the Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when the amount of worker bees decrease leaving the queen and budding bee babies alone to a only a few nursing bees. There have been many theories to explain how this phenomenon came about, but the main reasons point to issues with pesticides, global warming– or as Donald Trump fondly calls it– a myth, and habitat loss.

Large industries rely on the rapid growth of crops regardless of whether or not it is their season. Because of this, they use harmful agents such as neonicotinoids on many plants that bees pollinate. When the chemicals found in these pesticides interact with our tiny friends, their central nervous systems are attacked. Furthermore, when the bees transfer the nectar they gathered from these infected plants back to their hives, the entire colony is at risk.

As with climate change, the balance between bees and various plant lives is thrown off by affecting the timing in which bees pollinate to the times during the year when plants bloom. For example, if climate change causes flowers to grow during the cold seasons, bees would not be able to sustain the harsh weather causing a decrease in pollination. The rising temperatures due to global warming are creating a drastic effect on both plants and pollinating insects, disrupting the harmony of nature.

Furthermore, with the rise of commercial industries and the false notion that we need material goods in order to reach satiation, many woodlands, forests, and grasslands that are popular homes for hives, are in grave danger. Without carefully considering the impact humans have on nature, we directly harm the ecosystem responsible for providing us the resources that are essential to survival.

There are many steps we can take. For one, we can support local grown foods and farmers who grow certain crops according to the season and stray away from harsh chemicals and pesticides that commercial industries are known to use. Another way we can stop the endangering out these species is by supporting beekeepers, buying raw, organic honey, and spreading awareness. Now is not the time for stagnant advocation. In order to make a change, we must get up, go out, and be active in our pursuits for a healthier ecosystem and in turn, a better planet; an endeavor achievable through little tasks we can do daily. Recycle, pick up trash even though it may not be yours, cut down on fossil fuels, and most importantly, believe that we can overcome this. Do not be quiet and do not stay still. The key to changing this drastic situation is through passion and perseverance. The more people understand the effects that will occur with each dying bee, the more we can work together as a larger collective.

Bee the change.