February, 2009

In Defense of Marriage For Everyone:
1,138-Plus Reasons to Get Married in 2009


Besides the allure of gift registries, friends toasting you and your beloved, shopping for your dream gown, plus the excuse to page through Modern Bride magazine while tanning – why get married?

Turns out there are officially well over a thousand very beneficial reasons. According to a 2004 report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), there are at least 1,138 statutory provisions in which marital status factors in the determination of federal privileges, rights, and benefits. And states can offer their own bundle of marital benefits. As expressed in Hernandez v. Robles New York’s highest court, for example, in 2006 identified “316 such benefits in New York law,” noting as most important: “Married people receive significant tax advantages, rights in probate and intestacy proceedings [(when someone dies without a will)], rights to support from their spouses both during the marriage and after it is dissolved, and rights to be treated as family members in obtaining insurance coverage and making health care decisions. Beyond this, they receive the symbolic benefit, or moral satisfaction, of seeing their relationship recognized by the State.”


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Wed Bands

Fresh Face Forward –
Rubbed the Right Way!


A little slice of heaven awaits you on Church Street in Burlington, one floor above Speeder and Earl’s. Cynthea’s Spa is tucked into a bright corner of our world. Something about the play of light off the magenta and coffee colored walls, the local art purposefully hung, and the easy way Cynthea Wight Hausman greets me tells me this is in fact, a new day. Sure, it also happens that I am at the spa the morning of the inauguration, but somehow it all seems timely. The country is shedding old, dead, useless weight and I’m getting old, dead skin exfoliated. If a day at the spa can be a patriotic act, so be it. I am about to be exfoliated, massaged, wrapped like a human taco, and then, while all relaxed, I will be getting a facial. All of this for little old me! I’m in heaven.

Cynthea, the spa’s owner and namesake, is one of those women whose easy internal glow is apparent. This is not a spa of secret potions, this is a place of care, health, ease, calm, and sharing information to enable me to keep taking care of myself. She told me what salt, creams, oils and scents she was using and why she chose them. She also showed me how easy it would be to make some of the scrubbing salt on my own!

Cynthea is a normal woman, not one of those aestheticians who look like the chicks in that old Robert Palmer video, pale and red-lipped. I didn’t worry that she’d scream and pass out when she massaged my thighs and saw, gasp, the cellulite. She’s one of us. She has created a space for us normal people to be pampered, to be warmed, and to let go of the old skin to let the new emerge.


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The Business Scents
of Lunaroma’s Leyla Bringas


Step into the Lunaroma Aromatic Apothecary, and you will find yourself awash in scents that could calm even the most stressed among us. Then talk with Leyla Bringas, owner and founder of Lunaroma Inc., and you’ll learn that these aromatic oils offer much more than just a pleasurable, aesthetic experience.

“I first learned about the healing potential of essential oils through studying herbology to deal with a personal health issue,” recalls Bringas. “I didn’t find answers through doctors, and I felt the solution was in the natural world. I learned essential oils could not only de-stress people, but actively heal such ailments as muscular pain, chronic sinus infections, hormonal imbalances, body lice, and skin conditions – to name a few.”

Bringas began to make natural body care products for friends and family as gifts, but eventually expanded into a home-based business. She studied under aromatherapy mentors Wendy Dorsey and Jade Shutes, and gained certification from the Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy in Seattle, WA (now called the East West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies) in 1997. She launched Lunaroma the same year her daughter Alia was born.


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The Power of Love –
In Sickness and in Health


To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we called up our favorite love goddess, Dr. Annie Sprinkle, renowned sexologist, porn star, feminist, and political activist. We chatted about her multiple weddings to partner Elizabeth Stephens, experimental artist, professor, and ‘sexy dyke playboy’, and about their continuing work as artists and life partners.

Vermont Woman:So you’ve been to this area?

Elizabeth StephensYes, on a bike trip – around Burlington, across the lake on a ferry, through the Adirondacks, and back; it was incredible; I’ve been back many, many times.

VW:And you’ve got another wedding coming up, your Blue Wedding, in June, in Oxford, England.

Annie Sprinkle:We’ve had five weddings already – we did two in our Green Year, in 2008. We took vows to love and cherish the earth.


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Annie Sprinkle