In The News

Posted August 6, 2011 – 2:01am

Las Vegas couple start greeting card company for LGBT community

By Jennifer RobisonLAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

It’s tough to buy greeting cards for Dina Proto.

Sure, Proto has birthdays and celebrates holidays and anniversaries like everyone else.

But Proto’s spouse, Dina Poist-Proto, is a woman, and that’s meant lots of creative editing among card-buying family members, for example, the daughter who had to make the “Mother’s” in Mother’s Day plural after she couldn’t find a card honoring her two moms in any conventional stationery stores.

So the two Las Vegas nurses, who married in California in 2008 and are raising four children, put together their 401(k)s and other savings to open Teazled.com, a local online retailer of cards for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered consumers. The Internet shop went live Monday.

The company’s 60 greeting cards feature pictures and poems for the LGBT community, such as Mother’s Day cards that recognize two-mom families and anniversary cards for two-husband households. There are coming-out cards (“This isn’t a college experiment … it’s who I am”), and cards of support for couples and transgendered people who have come out to friends and family. Teazled, whose name is a takeoff on one of the couple’s favorite activities, sharing tea, also sells cards celebrating traditional events such as Christmas or a new baby.

Proto and Poist-Proto wrote some of the cards, while their pastor and Proto’s father created some verses as well. The partners also encouraged Poist-Proto’s mother to write 20 or so cards based on feelings she shared in her journal upon learning of the couple’s relationship. One of the cards reads: “No more denial, no more uncertainty, no more resistance — only acceptance and love.”

Teazled’s business plan wasn’t born of Proto’s and Poist-Proto’s personal experiences alone. The company’s concept also makes good financial sense, the couple says.

Greeting cards are popular in America: 7 billion cards change hands every year nationwide. But few of those cards speak specifically to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered consumers. The handful of cards that do target LGBT buyers are either blank inside or “very, very crass,” Proto said. With Census numbers showing that 8.8 million Americans live in a same-sex household, Teazled hopes to tap into a sizable market of consumers interested in tasteful, meaningful, LGBT-focused cards, the partners say.

“For us, it’s about providing cards that should have been available for years already, and no one has had the passion or the compassion to do that,” Proto said.

Teazled’s cards sell online for $3.99 each, plus $1 for shipping and handling. The company plans to add five to 10 cards a month, and is negotiating to sell cards at gift boutiques, stationery stores and flower shops, including A Twisted Tulip, a flower shop in northwest Las Vegas.

“The girls themselves, their story was so fantastic. It hit an emotion in me,” said Tamara Fleming, owner of A Twisted Tulip. “I hadn’t really thought about the fact that greeting cards were so general. Once I read the messages in their cards, I just felt the cards were something I needed to have. These are just beautiful cards. I have a diverse client base, and I want everyone to have cards that reflect the emotions they want to express.”

Fleming sees a substantial market for Teazled’s cards, she added.

Proto said she’d like to see Teazled in stores nationwide, but it’s unlikely the company will launch its own real-world chain of shops.

“We don’t want to be Hallmark, with multiple brick-and-mortar stores. We have no intention of segregating the LGBT community even more,” Proto said. “These cards need to be integrated into stores wherever people shop for cards, like the Targets, the Wal-Marts and the Kmarts.”

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.


http://www.autostraddle.com/its-sunday-funday-lets-put-on-our-hottest-clothes-and-have-a-good-time-103497/

Lesbian Couple is Adorable, Makes Greeting Cards for Gays

Have you ever been like, “damn, I just can’t find a card with two girls on sailboats on the front and a lesbian love poem inside at this CVS!” and felt a little sad while you made your own in Photoshop, even though it took all night? No? Okay, well then we can move on.

Dina Proto and Dina Poist-Proto, two lesbians who are married with four kids and the same name, have launched Teazled, a card company for queers. It’s full of cards you just can’t find anywhere else: for two moms, for two dads, for ladies courting other ladies, for holidays with your gay family members, etc. Like this:

A disclaimer: I have already purchased something from Teazled. As in, five minutes ago.

https://outwithmommy.wordpress.com/category/gay-mother/

Two nurses in Las Vegas, Nevada, both named Dina, got tired of crossing out pronouns and editing greeting cards for each other, family and friends, so they created Teazled.com, a new online Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender greeting card company for non-traditional families. The two Dinas, who have been in a loving marriage for seven years and raised four children together, started Teazled to offer LGBT families cards that represent their families and life milestones.

“Dina and I started Teazled because we felt a void looking for a greeting card to express our feelings during life’s special occasions, only to have to edit the available selection,” said Dina Proto, cofounder of Teazled. “We understand non-traditional families share the same traditional bonds of love and respect. We want the non-traditional family to be able to celebrate those meaningful moments, express their innermost thoughts and communicate with those they cherish.”

Sure, there are other LGBT-oriented greeting card companies, but often the images are R rated. Teazled showcases tasteful greeting cards for individuals and their families for 25 different occasions, including coming out and commitment ceremonies. All cards are $3.99 each plus $1 for shipping. To order, go to www.teazled.com


http://knpr.org/knpr/2011-08/teazledcom-cards-lgbt-community

 

knprKNPR’s State of Nevada

Teazled.com: Cards for the LGBT Community

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teazled.jpg

Aug 25, 2011

Dina Proto and her partner got tired of searching stores for cards that suited two lesbians. She says the LGBT-themed cards she found were often crass and sexual. Her daughter often had to add an “s” to the “Mom” in her Mother’s Day cards. So she and Dina Poist-Proto founded Teazled.com. It offers cards on everything from coming out, to commitment ceremonies, to transgender sex changes. What types of cards do they have? Can they find a market? And what do their cards say about America’s changing families?

GUESTS

Dina Proto, co-founder, Teazled.com

Dina Poist-Proto, co-founder, Teazled.com


http://www.edgemedianetwork.com/style/home/news//124535/lgbt_greeting_card_company_commemorates_repeal_of_dadt

LGBT Greeting Card Company Commemorates Repeal of DADT

Monday Sep 19, 2011

LAS VEGAS – As the U.S. military undergoes a generational sea change this month through the repeal of its longstanding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy one Las Vegas company is at the forefront of commemorating this historic occasion.

Teazled.com, a unique, new online Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender greeting card company based in Las Vegas is helping celebrate the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for U.S. Service men and women on Sept. 20, 2011 with six new cards to mark the event.

Since 1993, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy kept openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military. Teazled has launched a product line of six new card designed specifically to support those in the U.S. military who will no longer be faced with hiding their sexual orientation.

Teazled.com showcases nearly 100 unique, tasteful greeting cards for individuals and their families for 25 different occasions, including coming out. Teazled.com opened with more than 60 cards and has added more than 30 new designs this month alone, including six cards to commemorate this month’s repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Other companies that sell GLBT greeting cards sell cards that are blank inside, feature risqué photos and messages and don’t offer the vast selection of cards that Teazled.com does, leaving no formidable competition locally or nationally. In addition, conventional stationary stores like Hallmark don’t have Mother’s Day cards that recognize two-mom families and anniversary cards for two-husband households.

“Whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or heterosexual, you should be proud of who you are and of your support for GLBT equality,” said Dina Proto, cofounder of Teazled.com.

Americans purchase 7 billion greeting cards every year. Nine out of 10 U.S. households buy greeting cards, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards in a year.

Started by two female nurses, both named Dina, who have been in a loving marriage for seven years and raised four children together, Teazled.com is a company whose motivation is to pioneer traditional greeting cards for the non-traditional family. Dina Proto and Dina (aka Dom) Poist-Proto wrote some of the cards, while their pastor and one of the Dina’s fathers wrote verses as well.

Explained Poist-Proto, “The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell represents a historic shift toward equality for our brave men and women serving their country. No longer will service members have to hide who they are and, at last, can serve openly and with pride.”

Americans purchase 7 billion greeting cards every year. Nine out of 10 U.S. households buy greeting cards, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards in a year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 8.8 million Americans share a same sex household, so Teazled.com is filling an overwhelming vacancy for the GLBT community by providing the opportunity to create a lasting impression and emotional bond between the sender and receiver.

No longer will people be faced with having to “edit” standard greeting cards to accommodate them for non-traditional, but respected loved ones. Teazled.com showcases tasteful greeting cards for individuals and their families for 25 different occasions.

The GLBT community and their family and friends can enjoy a new found way to express their feelings or humor through Teazled.com’s large variety of dignified cards for every traditional holiday and occasion and some non-traditional holidays including coming out and commitment ceremonies. All cards are $3.99 each plus $1 for shipping.

For more information or to browse or shop for cards, visit www.teazled.com. To contact Teazled.com, call (702) 823-1399.


http://gaywrites.org/post/8622995557/lesbian-couple-starts-lgbt-greeting-card-business

Lesbian couple starts LGBT greeting card business

A married lesbian couple in Las Vegas have started a business selling greeting cards catering towards LGBT families. Their store went live this week.

Dina Proto and partner Dina Poist-Proto identified with others who had a hard time finding appropriate cards for certain holidays – for example, Mother’s Day cards catered towards kids with two mothers. Now, they offer 60 different greeting cards, including cards for same-sex couples’ anniversaries and coming out cards.

The cards are available at Teazled.com for $3.99 apiece plus shipping. The couple will continue adding cards every month and hope to start selling some at boutiques and stationery stores. The feature linked above tells more about their story.

This is a small change that could make a huge difference for a lot of people. Really, though, this is the coolest thing ever.

lgbtq news cute culture lesbians

Sunday, August 7, 2011105 notes ()

http://www.pride.com/lifestyle/2011/09/29/lesbian-couple-launches-new-lgbt-online-greeting-card-company

The holiday season is fast approaching! Teazled, an online LGBT greeting card company, is now open – just in time for all the card-sending holidays.

The company was started by two female nurses, both named Dina, and aims to pioneer traditional greeting cards for the non-traditional family. Dina Proto and Dina Poist-Proto have been married for seven years and are raising four children together.

Americans buy 7 billion greeting cards each year, an average of 30 cards per household. According to the US Census Bureau, 8.8 million Americans live in a same-sex household. Teazled is filling a vacancy for the LGBT community by helping create a lasting impression and emotional bond between the sender and receiver of their cards.

http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/Web-Articles-2012/Teazled-Cards-Faces-Trademark-Troubles/

Teazled Cards Faces Trademark Troubles

The LGBT greeting card company alleges their slogan is is being stolen.

BY ADAM L. BRINKLOW

6656

Published: 2012.07.17 01:17 PM

It only took two words to bring Dina Proto’s life to a screeching halt. “We were lying on the sofa and I was actually falling asleep and I heard ‘Tell Them’ and I sat bolt upright. And I said, No, they couldn’t have.” When Proto and her partner, Dina Poist-Proto (“the Dinas” as their lawyer calls them) founded Teazled, a greeting card company for the LGBT community, the couple chose the slogan “Tell Them” as the signature of their brand. But the commercial that rudely awakened Dina Proto was not from Teazled—it was from Hallmark. Now the Teazled founders claim they’re being bullied by the greeting card giant, while Hallmark insists that Teazled is making mountains out of molehills.

When Teazled opened for business in March of 2011 the Dinas filed to trademark their company logo and “Tell Them” slogan. The US Patent and Trademark Office recorded the first commercial use of the trademarked material in August of that year. In February of 2012, Hallmark launched an ad campaign that Teazled alleges is suspiciously similar to theirs, to the point of crossing legal lines.

“We’ve always had that,” Proto said of the “Tell Them” slogan. “It’s the mainstay of our company.” To the Dinas, “Tell Them” embodies everything Teazled is about, a mandate to communicate and be inclusive—which is why they’re so protective of it. They accuse Hallmark of trying to steal their brand identity and of bullying them because they know Teazled is a small company with limited resources.

The commercial at the heart of the dispute is a 30-second spot featuring a montage of people looking into the camera and asking for affirmation: “‘Tell me you love me,’ ‘Tell me you miss me,’ […] ‘Tell me we’ll grow old together.'” A voiceover at the end declares, “Vow to tell them today,” and an onscreen message directs viewers to Hallmark’s “Tell Them” Facebook page. Hallmark insists that despite the similarities between their ad’s language and Teazled’s slogan that they do not think they are infringing on Teazled’s trademarks.

“We don’t think there would be any room for confusion,” says Julie O’Dell, public relations director at Hallmark. “We’ve been willing to discuss this with them. At this point I think it’s just a difference of opinion.”

The Dinas disagree; in fact, they’re downright angry. In February they sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hallmark, but Hallmark isn’t budging. “Our advertising tagline or slogan is ‘Life is a Special Occasion’, not ‘Tell Them'” said Hallmark’s assistant general counsel David N. Johnson in his response to the cease-and-desist, arguing that Teazled cannot monopolize the basic meaning of such a commonplace phrase. “Where we do use the phrase ‘tell them,’ […] it is not used as a source indicator but simply as a straightforward way of conveying a particular idea.” Johnson did not respond to requests for an interview.

The nebulousness of the language in Hallmark’s advertising muddies the question of whether they’re applying it as a tagline. The commercial uses the longer phrase “Vow to tell them” but directs viewers to a Facebook page called simply “Hallmark Tell Them”, with a logo designed by Hallmark’s art department that fixes the words “Tell Them” dead center. There is also a “Tell Them” playlist on Hallmark’s YouTube channel. Julie O’Dell says she believes that the company has always used short and long versions interchangeably.

Earlier this year Hallmark solicited dozens of family-themed and promotional blogs to promote the campaign, and “Tell Them” often stands out in the blog posts: “Tell Them you miss them, Tell Them you need them, Tell Them they’re still the one, Tell Them they’re your superhero, Tell Them you love them,” reads GrinningCheekToCheek.com (italics in original), for example, language echoed and even repeated verbatim on similar sites.

 

So is Hallmark emphasizing “Tell Them” as a tagline or not? That may depend on whether that’s the blogger’s language or Hallmark’s. O’Dell says that Hallmark does not provide instructions or writing guidelines to independent bloggers, but speculates “that could very well be the language we used when we contacted the blogger.” Ashley Capps of FreckleberryFinds.com (which features the previously quoted “Tell Them” litany word-for-word) says that Hallmark “may have provided general guidelines or certain key phrases” to use but could not recall specifics.

“Jammie” of TheNeatThingsInLife.com (who declined to provide a legal name), on the other hand, vigorously denies any coaching from the company: “I personally, and let me make it clear, I, me, myself, the one responding, the one that posts on my site, was never in no way shape or form asked to post anything. The information I posted is in my own words, not copied from no one, or anything.” The Neat Things in Life employs language markedly different from the other cited blogs and from Hallmark advertising.

Uncertainty over who used what language and when cuts to the heart of any trademark dispute: the potential to confuse consumers. If there’s a reasonable chance that the average consumer could mistake Teazled as being related to Hallmark because of the advertising, only then would Hallmark be at fault. “It all comes down to the matter of confusion,” says Lawrence G. Townsend, an intellectual property attorney with no connection to either party. “All trademark rights arise out of use, that’s critical.”

Teazled is assumed to have common law rights on the phrase dating back to whenever they first began using it prominently, and when the registration process is complete the trademark applies retroactively back to when the registration was first filed, says Townsend. But Hallmark’s attorneys contend that their use of the trademarked phrase doesn’t matter because there’s simply no way any consumer would assume a relationship between the two companies because of it. Lisa Moyles, a lawyer the Dinas procured through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, says that Hallmark’s argument shows a “fundamental misunderstanding of the law.”

“When you think about the way Teazled has been using [the phrase], they consider it part of their brand, their tagline, their logo. If you look at the way Hallmark has been using it, it appears to be the same,” Moyles says. “It’s the same line of commerce, it’s the same client base, it’s the same goods and services.” Moyles adds that she is skeptical that a company with Hallmark’s resources would not have known about Teazled’s ownership of the phrase before launching their campaign and that most in-house counsels would advise against employing a trademarked phrase regardless of the use.

Julie O’Dell says she feels the company has been fair in their dealings with Teazled and is willing to try to put the matter to rest. “The lines of communication need to be open, and ours are,” she says.

The Dinas say they don’t have the financial means to fight Hallmark in court but will keep fighting in the court of public opinion. “My plan is to continue with my trademark and hope that the public will back us up,” Dina Proto says.

“It’s a tough spot,” Lisa Moyles says of Teazled’s position. “Do they even have a snowball’s chance in hell, other than Hallmark standing up and not going down this route? I don’t know.”

It’s a big conflict over just two words, but as Hallmark itself so often reminds us, the little things in life make a big difference. (teazled.com)

Let’s stand with Teazled, our locally owned LGBTQ greeting card company!

Let’s stand with Teazled, our locally owned LGBTQ greeting card company!

The Sin City Siren / February 23, 2012

Folks, we need to step up and help one of our own. LGBTQ greeting card company Teazled, which was founded by a fantastic lesbian couple and is based right here in Las Vegas, is in a fight over intellectual property and copyright infringement with the megalith Hallmark. (Full disclosure: The couple go to my church.)

Teazled is not only an amazing little mom-and-mom company, but it represents a cultural shift and an acceptance of LGBTQ individuals. Because, as it turns out, Hallmark doesn’t always “have a card for that,” as the saying goes. But it’s time there were cards for all individuals and families! Enter: Teazled.

“We created Teazled to fill the need for greeting cards for the LGBT community,” Dina says on the video below.

<div class=”player-unavailable”><h1 class=”message”>An error occurred.</h1><div class=”submessage”><a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddOPu-fb0To” target=”_blank”>Try watching this video on www.youtube.com</a>, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.</div></div>

So, it was not only a surprise, but painful to watch as Hallmark launched a “Tell Them” campaign this month. You see, Teazled’s tagline — which was copyrighted in 2011 — is that exact phrase: Tell Them. So far, a cease and desist order has been ignored. But just because they don’t want to acknowledge their wrong-doing, doesn’t make it right. And let’s face it, if the situation were reversed and a little start-up greeting card company was using copyrighted property of Hallmark, ignoring the situation would not be an option.

Want more reasons to support this cause?

  • This is a locally owned company. How many times do we Las Vegans bitch that all we have are mass-corporate chain stores and no variety? Here’s your chance to support a business that is right here!
  • Supporting Teazled supports local artists. They do all the art and writing here!
  • An LGBTQ-owned business needs your help.
  • This business is woman-owned.
  • The owners are Christians who are active in their faith.
  • You can stick it to the 1%!
  • Your purchase of Teazled products and support benefit a small business!
  • You can stick it to Hallmark, who maybe didn’t have the right card for you because of narrow, hetero-normative, sexist, [fill-in-the-blank] reasons.

Teazled is a special company owned by two really amazing women who started this company — their dream — with money they’d saved from hard work and their 401Ks. They contribute to the community and their church. They are raising their family here. And they work toward equality for all people. In short, these are good people. And they deserve our support.

So, here’s what you can do:

  • Check out #TellHallmark and express your reasons for supporting Teazled and encouraging Hallmark to do the right thing.
  • Follow Teazled on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post the following on your Facebook/Twitter feeds and on Hallmark’s feed: #TellHallmark trademark infringement is NOT a warm greeting.
  • Most of all: BUY PRODUCTS FROM TEAZLED!

http://thedinah.com/tag/teazled-com

 

DINAH 2013 VENDOR, TEAZLED GREETING CARDS, OFFERS NATIONAL SUPPORT & FUNDRAISING ASSISTANCE TO LGBT CENTERS

For those of you who attended Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend 2013 in Palm Springs and took the time to wander around our vendors’ area, you might remember seeing the very unique booth of TEAZLED – a different kind of greeting card company.

They’ve just launched a fantastic project that offers national support and fundraising assistance to LGBT centers, and we’re spreading the word about it.

 

Teazled, LLC, based in Las Vegas, NV, is a manufacturer and publisher of high-quality, traditional greeting cards for the LGBT community, their families and straight allies.

Teazled cards are currently distributed to major retail outlets throughout the USA, Bermuda and Canada.

The LGBT community has supported Teazled’s vision since the company was founded in 2011 and the owners of Teazled wish to ‘pay it forward’ to the constituents in their rapidly expanding community.

Through the Teazled Center Project, in collaboration with CenterLink, their high-quality greeting cards will be offered to LGBT Centers throughout the country at the company’s manufacturing cost (zero-profit), allowing LGBT Centers to resell the cards at a retail price of their choosing and to use the funds in whatever manner best suits the Center’s strategic goals. The extremely low cost to the Centers will create a new revenue stream to fund the worthy efforts the Centers offer to their clients.

Teazled’s line of tasteful and family-appropriate cards addresses all major seasonal holidays and most standard occasions, which are seldom, if ever, recognized by other publishers of LGBT cards.

Teazled cards address relationships such as: Daughter & Daughter-in-law, Son & Son-in-law, My Moms or My Dads and so on. Additionally, many cards speak to essential support issues such as coming out and family communication.

Teazled cards cover 42 unique relationships and were created by members of the LGBT community for the community. Currently, Teazled offers over 200 different cards with dozens being produced throughout the year.

Visit Teazled on the web at www.teazled.com to view their line of cards.

You can help your local LGBT Center by choosing to purchase Teazled cards through them. We encourage each Center to explore this phenomenal fundraising opportunity by contacting:

Denise Spivak, Director of Membership at CenterLink at denise@lgbtcenters.org, or Dina Proto, Ceo of Teazled by phone or email at: dina@teazled.com Or call: 855-4TELLTHEM (855.483.5584).

###


http://taggmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/teazled-lgbt-greeting-cards-on-amazon/

TEAZLED MAKES LGBT GREETING CARDS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

Eboné Bell | September 3, 2014

Teazled, LLC, a pioneer in the manufacturing of greeting cards for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, has found a new way to empower families and support the community.

Teazled’s line of tasteful and family-appropriate cards is now available on Amazon.com and addresses all major seasonal holidays and most standard occasions, which are seldom, if ever, recognized by other publishers of LGBT cards.

Teazled is not just a greeting card company; it is a poignant way to share the stories of the LGBT community with their families. Their signature line of “Coming Out” and “Support” cards are fashioned in a way to give words to conflict and create resolution to the unique struggles of LGBT people and the families that care for them.

The Teazled dream started in 2004 when owners, Dina Proto and Dina Poist-Proto (Dom) celebrated their first Mothers’ Day together. At that time, their oldest daughter (then 17 years old) couldn’t find a card to give to her Moms that she didn’t have to edit. That experience was the catalyst that put the Poist-Proto family on a journey to fill the void for families like theirs in the greeting card industry.

The duo is now excited to expand their message and cards to Amazon. For more information about Teazled, click here.

http://lasvegasweekly.com/news/2015/feb/12/teazled-lgbt-card-company-sentiment-inclusive/

Teazled now has cards in local Albertons stores and an online presence.

Courtesy of Teazled


10 YEARS OF BEAUTY BAR

Mark Adams

Thu, Feb 12, 2015 (midnight)

The trip to the greeting-card aisle can be an agonizing one, sifting through the overly sentimental and the inappropriately funny. But what if none of the cards actually works, say, if you’re looking for a wedding card for two brides or a Father’s Day card for two dads?

Enter Teazled, an LGBT-owned greeting-card company based here in Las Vegas. Dina Proto, who co-owns Teazled with her wife Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto, says a Mother’s Day card made by their daughter was the seed.

More

“She wrote how sad she was that there were no cards that identified her family.”

That inspired a journal full of ideas, and the company now has cards in local Albertsons stores and a presence online (teazled.com). With endearing sentiments, fun fonts and engagement-announcement-worthy photos, the cards are like those down the street at Hallmark, but they add vital nuance to love on paper.

https://issuu.com/qvegas/docs/qvegas-january-2013/30

QLV Holdings, Inc.

3 years ago

Report

QVegas Magazine Women’s Issue

Ladies First! 2013 Women’s Issue featuring Dina & Dina of Teazled –a greeting card company. Find out where Las Vegas ladies hang out. Learn more about domestic violence in the LGBT community and grab some tips on purchasing life insurance for those you love. Plus Q&A with Frenchie Davis, Best of QVegas Nominations, and OUTMusic Award Winners


http://affinityincmagazine.com/chamber-president-urges-nevadas-lgbt-businesses-to-seek-certification/

Chamber president urges Nevada’s LGBT businesses to seek certification

JULY 24, 2014 BY AFFINITY STAFF LEAVE A COMMENT

Dina Proto

By Melissa Lowery

In 2011, when Dina Proto founded Teazled LLC to create greeting cards and became certified as a LGBT business enterprise through the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that same year, she was surprised to learn that only three other businesses in Nevada were certified. After realizing the direct impact certification had on the ability to grow Teazled, she sought to provide education and outreach to other LGBT business enterprises, allies and corporate partners as founder and president of the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada.

Formerly known as QVegas Business Alliance, GLCCNV re-launched in January 2014 with a statewide focus and revitalized opportunities for member businesses. In addition to monthly interactive networking meetings, the organization hosts a monthly breakfast and business meeting with a more intimate group that meets for specific business growth education. The rebranded organization is welcoming new certified businesses and continually expanding outreach.

“As we begin to work together as a united front,” Proto said, “we increase awareness about the number of LGBT-owned businesses and, ultimately, our intellectual and financial impact on society at local, national and global levels. That intellectual and financial impact creates empowerment. If we continue to stay in the closet as LGBT business owners, society will never recognize all that we have to offer and have been for hundreds of years. As we create that sense of unity, we increase our individual bottom line. But, we also make a powerful statement about our community that will, ultimately, assist in diminishing discrimination.”

Proto is a dynamic advocate for completing NGLCC’s certification and becoming an active participant in a local chamber. She has seen the benefits firsthand through her business, Teazled, and is enthusiastic in her desire to bring similar results to other LGBT business owners locally and nationally.

Teazled provides traditional greeting cards for nontraditional families. The idea grew out of conversations that Proto and her wife, Dom, had with their four children when occasions such as Mother’s Day presented a challenge for them to express their feelings. Proto set out to create cards that allowed families, friends and co-workers

to celebrate all of the everyday occasions that heterosexual society has had the ability to purchase for more than 100 years.

“We are the first LGBT greeting card company to be available in mainstream grocery stores,” Proto said. “We wanted the cards to be available in mainstream stores, so that people could buy them at a point of purchase rather than planning in advance and shopping online. Because of our participation with the NGLCC and GLCCNV, we’ve obtained significant brand awareness, as well as the opportunity to meet and network with key decision makers that we never would have met otherwise.”

GLCCNV is the host chamber for NGLCC’s 2014 National Business & Leadership Conference, and the GLCCNV board of directors worked closely with NGLCC to plan and execute the event. Board members were able to advise the conference planning team on venues, increasing member awareness and sharing all that Las Vegas has to offer. Proto is especially pleased to have the opportunity to make recommendations regarding potential vendors from GLCCNV members.

“I love that the NGLCC is so focused on increasing awareness and giving back to its local chambers,” Proto said. “I really hope that Nevada has record attendance numbers, so that after the conference, we can all work together to grow our community!”


https://www.campuspride.org/speaking-out-teazled-cards-queer-youth/

Campus Pride highlights queer youth in photo card series in partnership with Teazled to support “Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus”

posted on October 14, 2014

Campus Pride teams up to spotlight the lives of queer youth with new 15 card “Speaking OUT” youth series as part of the continued partnership with Teazled, LLC, a pioneer in the manufacturing of greeting cards by and for the LGBTQ Community.

BUY NOW ONLINE

This year to celebrate LGBTQ youth both Campus Pride and Teazled joined forces to continue support Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus. The project is a photographic essay that explores a wide spectrum of experiences told from the perspective of a diverse group of young people, ages fourteen to twenty-four, identifying as queer (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning). With more than sixty-five portraits photographed by Rachelle Lee Smith over a period of ten years, Speaking OUT provides rare insight into the passions, confusions, prejudices, joys, and sorrows felt by queer youth.

“Campus Pride is proud of this partnership and its continued growth with Teazled. The faces and stories of queer youth are vital to understanding and celebrating their lives and milestones. This card series will give that opportunity thanks to the talents of queer photographer Rachelle Lee Smith and her life passion,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride.

Teazled will produce fifteen cards featuring queer youth from the larger series in hopes of raising funds for Rachelle Lee Smith’s paperback book while also supporting Campus Pride. A portion of each greeting card sale will go towards the book and the efforts of Campus Pride serving LGBTQ youth across the country. Buy now online.

“We didn’t want to alter the images as they were perfect in every way – Simple yet profound. Let’s let the youth speak for themselves,” explains Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto, CFO of Teazled.

These greeting cards will be available on Teazled.com and on Amazon for purchase. BUY NOW online at Teazled

or learn more at: https://www.teazled.com

Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at CampusPride.org.

Teazled is not just greeting cards; it is a poignant way to share the stories of the LGBT community with their families. Their signature line of “Coming Out” and “Support” cards are fashioned in a way to give words to conflict and create resolution to the unique struggles of LGBT people and the families that care for them.The Teazled dream started in 2004 when owners, Dina Proto and Dina Poist-Proto (Dom) celebrated their first Mothers’ Day together. At that time, their oldest daughter (then 17 years old) couldn’t find a card to give to her Moms that she didn’t have to edit. That experience was the catalyst that put the Poist-Proto family on a journey to fill the void for families like theirs in the greeting card industry.

http://lasvegassun.com/photos/galleries/2014/jul/25/0721Teazled/#/0

Mon, Jul 21, 2014 (10:37 p.m.)

Teazled CEO Dina Proto poses with gay and lesbian greeting cards at her office in Las Vegas Monday, July 21, 2014. Teazled is a company that makes “traditional greeting cards for nontraditional familes.”

http://vegasinc.com/news/2014/jul/27/lgbt-owned-companies-come-out-closet-they-find-sup/

As LGBT-owned companies come out of the closet, they find support in business community

Steve Marcus

Teazled CEO Dina Proto displays gay and lesbian greeting cards at her office Monday, July 21, 2014. Teazled is a company that makes “traditional greeting cards for nontraditional familes.”

By Brian Sodoma, Special to VEGAS INC


Sunday, July 27, 2014 – 2 a.m.
Dina Proto’s teenage daughter wanted to show her mom, and her mom’s then-partner, some appreciation on the holiday, but a greeting card for her situation didn’t exist at the time.The Mother’s Day card had been altered — some words crossed out, others added.

That was in 2005. In 2011, Proto and her wife, Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto (they married in 2006 in California), launched Teazled, an LGBT greeting card company, and now it’s the first to sell its cards in mainstream grocery stores. More than 25 Albertsons nationally sell Teazled cards.

Teazled Greeting Cards

Launch slideshow »

SAME-SEX INDUSTRY

  • In September, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban, voted into law in 2002. Courts across the country over the past year have ruled similar same-sex marriage bans in other states are unconstitutional.
  • In a report released in October, the Williams Institute at UCLA noted, based on 2010 census figures, there were more than 7,000 same-sex couples in Nevada. Of those, about 20 percent are raising children under age 18 in their homes.
  • In a report released in November, Witeck Communications estimated the buying power of the U.S. adult LGBT population for 2013 would reach $813 billion, up from its estimate of $790 billion for 2012.

“There were gay greeting cards but most were sexually explicit and didn’t speak to core family values, which is unfortunate,” said Proto, 51.

Starting Teazled was just the beginning of Proto’s involvement in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business community in Las Vegas. Now, she’s also founder and president of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Proto works to encourage local LGBT-owned businesses to unify and help one another break down social and business equality barriers.

The NGLCC’s local chapter formed this year and will get a chance to boost its profile this week when several members attend the national chamber’s business and leadership conference at Caesars Palace. The conference runs Tuesday through Friday and will offer networking and educational opportunities for more than 700 attendees.

“We also will be reviewing the latest research about the $800 billion spending power behind LGBT consumers,” said Justin Nelson, co-founder and CEO of the national chamber.

“Most importantly, this is a premier networking conference. Business owners go away with new leads that directly help their bottom line.”

Proto encourages local businesses to become certified through the national chamber. To earn certification, a business must be majority-owned and operated by an LGBT person. Once certified, Proto said LGBT-owned businesses can be more recognizable to Fortune 500 companies looking to diversify their supplier base.

“If we don’t tell them we exist, then they are going to think we don’t exist,” Proto said.

The local NGLCC chapter has four certified businesses and several others pursuing the designation. LGBT business certification is in its infancy. Proto said national estimates peg LGBT business ownership around 1.4 million, with about 500 certified.

Eurie Creative of Las Vegas, a graphic design and communications company founded by Victor Rodriguez, is one of the four local NGLCC-certified businesses. Rodriguez has done business with Caesars Entertainment, Cirque du Soleil and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, but he said exposure to more companies couldn’t hurt.

“It’s up to us to make the best of that introduction. But there’s really no guarantee,” he said.

Ron Henderson, who owns Las Vegas eco-friendly lighting company Varaluz, is completing his certification. He said Varaluz could benefit from being able to network with new large companies. Currently, he sells to major retailers such as Lamps Plus and Ferguson, and others in North America, the Caribbean, Central America and Russia.

“Most large businesses are relationship-based, and you can’t break in without an introduction,” he said.

Las Vegas’ LGBT community has another chamber of commerce, the Lambda Business Association, which has about 250 members and has been around since 1991, said board member and Realtor Rob Schlegel.

The group offers networking luncheons, meetings with guest speakers and other resources.

“I believe being a member of Lambda gives me an advantage in business. … I reach a broad audience, gay and straight,” Schlegel said.

Schlegel, who also ran the valley’s first gay newspaper, the Las Vegas Bugle, emphasized the importance of LGBT businesses working together and providing opportunities to work with ally businesses, small and large.

“As gay and lesbian people, we could never get anything done without our straight allies,” he said.

Schlegel acknowledged Lambda had some philosophical differences with NGLCC. The chambers work separately today, but he said working together would be beneficial, as the groups mirror each other in many ways. Lambda does not offer certification.

“I do hope someday we would merge or join forces as one organization,” Schlegel said.

Rodriguez, who is a member of both organizations and has lived in other cities where he saw similar divides, also sees some duplication of resources in the local LGBT community — for example with HIV/AIDS support and other services.

“Socially and business-wise, there’s a little more unity needed,” he said.

The rapid pace of legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in the past year, as well as growing recognition and acceptance of LGBT people, positions business owners and others who market to this demographic for growth.

Tom Kovach, interim director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, said casino companies in town, for example, marketed aggressively to LGBT consumers.

L.E. Baskow

Tom Kovach, board member of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

“It (marketing to the LGBT population) must be done in ways demonstrating that LGBT people are not just a target from a consumer standpoint but are people who are integrated into all aspects of our nation and the broader community,” he said.

Laura Sussman and her partner, Wendy Kraft, have run Kraft-Sussman Funeral Services for more than five years, serving more than 1,200 families.

Sussman, 58, said her drive to open a funeral home came from experiences Kraft as an employee and Sussman as a volunteer saw in the funeral industry.

They often found commissioned employees driven by financial gain rather than service, allowing the emotional needs of a client to go unmet, Sussman said. The couple, mothers of three girls who will likely work in the business, wanted to offer a better experience.

Using public-speaking opportunities, the couple also educate consumers on their rights when dealing with the funeral industry.

“There’s been a lot of press about families going to different mortuaries and not being respected … and that’s an issue with us,” Sussman said.

But the couple’s sexual orientation takes a back seat to business. They don’t hide it, but their focus is on providing a service.

“I don’t flaunt it. It’s just who I am,” Sussman said.

Rodriguez, owner of Eurie Creative, agreed.

“For me, being a gay businessman is not something I put out on the forefront when I meet with a potential client. … The design and communication is more important to me,” he said.

Henderson, owner of Varaluz, said he was encouraged to see a growing level of acceptance of LGBT-owned businesses, in general.

“It’s still kind of interesting to get my mind around it being OK to be gay — to be accepted by everyone, even in the business world,” he said.

Tags: Featured, The Sunday

http://gayfriendlybiz.com/new/uncategorized/as-lgbt-owned-companies-come-out-of-the-closet-they-find-support-in-business-community

http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/community-organizations/cenntennial-hills-couple-pioneer-lgbt-greeting-card-company

World of work: Recent…

Henderson-raised college…

Posted September 11, 2014 – 2:01am

Cenntennial Hills couple pioneer LGBT greeting card company

Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto pose for a portrait inside their home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. The couple are co-owners of Teazled, a greeting card company that focuses on the LGBT community. (Sandy Lopez/View)

Dina Proto shows a greeting card made by her company, Teazled, at her home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (Sandy Lopez/View)

Teazled merchandise is seen at Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto’s home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (Sandy Lopez/View)

Dina Proto shows a greeting card made by her company, Teazled, at her home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (Sandy Lopez/View)

Teazled greeting cards are seen at Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto’s home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (Sandy Lopez/View)

Dina Proto shows a greeting card made by her company, Teazled, at her home in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (Sandy Lopez/View)

image

By SANDY LOPEZ

View Staff Writer

Centennial Hills residents Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto have seen their family strive to find the right card that fits their two-mother household. That struggle led them to start an alternative greeting card company that addresses nontraditional families during conventional holidays and other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.

Their trademark tagline, “Tell Them,” encourages people to maintain open lines of communication with their families and friends.

“We wanted these cards available for kids and parents so they would not waste any valuable time and tell each other how they’re feeling,” Dina said. “Some cards have sayings that are as simple as ‘This is who I am,’ while other cards say, ‘I don’t understand, but I’m ready to listen.’ ”

The idea to start the business came to Dina in May 2005, when her oldest daughter went shopping for a Mother’s Day card. It was impossible for her to find a card that addressed both of her mothers, so she ended up altering the card by making it plural.

The incident steered the couple who met as nurses to look into creating greeting cards.

“People are tired of having to adjust a card to fit their (lifestyle),” Dina said. “What we’re doing is making traditional greeting cards for the LGBT community.”

Before starting their journey, the couple first researched the business to see if it was viable.

“There were similar companies that existed, but they sold sexually explicit cards,” Dom said. “We realized that we weren’t just marketing to the LGBT community but also to their supporters who make up 75 percent of society.”

After realizing their idea could have potential, they put together their 401(k)s and two years’ worth of tax returns to launch teazled.com in the summer of 2011.

The name came from the couple’s favorite pastime of drinking tea.

The online retailer started with 60 greeting cards and has since more than quadrupled its supplies.

“A lot of the cards from other companies just didn’t say a lot, and the outside images didn’t depict the LGBT community accurately,” Dina said. “It’s time society realized that we are everyday people.”

They started selling their cards online and then transitioned to freestanding spinners in boutiques.

Within four months, their cards were sold at 27 Albertsons stores across Las Vegas, competing with big-name brands that overlooked the growing LGBT population.

In the beginning, some people in the community felt the cards were inappropriate and wanted them to be covered like Playboy magazine, Dom said.

But the couple refused.

“At one time, the norm was to be flamboyant and show that we existed,” Dom said. “I think that was necessary for the time, but now we’re trying to show how normal the LGBT community is.”

Teazled carries cards for anniversaries, birthdays, baby arrivals, holidays, love and sympathy.

In addition, the company sells unique cards aimed at coming out and support.

“We still have a lot of LGBT kids that are being bullied, kicked out of their homes, and adults and kids committing suicide,” Dina said. “Sometimes a card is the easiest form of communication.”

The cards have sold for $3.99, and are all printed on recycled paper.

The company has also found an audience in boutiques across the nation and in Canada, Bermuda and Mexico.

The cards are being translated into Spanish for the Latino community, set to be available within the next six months to a year.

“In the beginning, we used stock photography and our own messages,” Dina said. “Now, we have a team of writers, photographers and even some local models who help us out. We’ve come a long way.”

The company has partnered with nonprofits such as CenterLink to offer greeting cards to LGBT centers throughout the country at the company’s manufacturing cost. This allows the centers to resell the cards at a retail price of their choosing and to use the funds in whatever manner suits the center’s strategic goals.

The couple said they’re always willing to support nonprofits that work with the LGBT community.

Dina said they have a good return policy and are willing to switch cards if they aren’t working.

The business recently celebrated its third anniversary, and the couple have no plans of stopping. Earlier this month, their cards were added to amazon.com.

“We’re slowly but surely becoming the leading pioneer in the LGBT greeting card business,” Dina said.

Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at slopez@viewnews.com or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/love-stories/hurdles-fail-hinder-north-valley-sweethearts

Hurdles fail to hinder north valley sweethearts

Dina Proto, left, and Dina (Dom) Poist-Proto were involved in romantic relationships with other people when they met 10 years ago: Dina was married, and Dom was engaged. (Michael Quine/View) (Watch video below the story)

7TZlNfyK-3SSLL1M3.mp4

View spoke with local couples for Valentine’s Day about overcoming challenges and hardships in their relationships.

When Dina Proto proposed to Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto, she did it with a candy heart that Dom had given her once before. (Michael Quine/View)

imagevideo

By SANDY LOPEZ

View Staff Writer

Love stories often have the same narrative: Two people meet, fall in love, do crazy and romantic things together and get married. It often ends there or will fast-forward to the future with the couple raising happy children and staring into each other’s eyes as if they were on their first date.

The reality of marriage is far from a Hollywood plot, but it can be just as beautiful.

TWO-MOM HOUSEHOLD

Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto are better known as the faces behind Teazled, an LGBT greeting card company. They came up with their business after witnessing their children struggle to find the right card for their two-mother household. While their business is blooming, their marriage wasn’t always easy.

The couple met 10 years ago while working as nurses at a local hospice. Dina was married with children, and Dom was in an eight-year relationship with her then-fiance.

“We became friends first, but then I don’t know what came over me. We were standing at a nurses station, and I just looked at her, and I said, ‘Have you ever thought about being with another woman?’ ” Dom said. “She looked up and said ‘No!’ and put her head down. That was the turning point of our friendship.”

Despite Dina’s answer, the couple knew they had something beyond friendship. Shortly after becoming friends, Dina divorced for the second time, and Dom filed for divorce three months after being married.

The pair began dating in August 2005, and on Valentine’s Day 2006, Dina gave Dom a card with a heart-shaped candy that said “Marry Me?”

“I stared down at it, and I remember thinking, ‘Yes, I want to,’ but a little part of me wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Dom said. “So I said no, and I kept the heart and tucked it away.”

“Our relationship almost ended there,” Dina said. “But I knew (she’d) fold.”

Two years later, Dom proposed to Dina with the same heart-shaped candy, which she placed inside a box.

They married in September 2008 in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Reality caught up with them a year later when Dina opted to have a bilateral mastectomy.

“I didn’t have breast cancer; they caught it before it got to that point,” Dina said. “But that experience taught me how to re-evaluate life. It pushed us to (start our business).”

Teazled was started in 2011.

Dom’s mother, who was against the couple’s relationship in the beginning, inspired messages written inside the cards. It took her five years to come to terms with Dom’s choice, which was another challenge in itself.

The couple dealt with the emotional heartache of having a family member against their relationship, but despite the challenges, Dom’s mother finally came to terms with her daughter’s relationship.

“Now she calls Dina more than she calls me,” Dom said. “You really don’t know about the good times until you’ve gone through bad times.”

‘A LIVELY RELATIONSHIP’

It was love at first sight when Maryann McGee was introduced to her husband Keith by a co-worker at her parents’ A&W restaurant in Gillette, Wyo. He was 16, and she was 15.

“He was a good-looking cowboy,” Maryann said. “He wore tailored shirts and was built nice. I liked him. I was a city girl, so this was kind of fun.”

After being married for 48 years, Keith agreed there was something about Maryann that caught his attention that day.

“Why did I go out with her? She was a girl. What else is driving a teenage boy? You’re not looking down the road when you do that,” Keith said. “It must’ve been love at first sight because I stuck with her.”

On June 6, 1966, the couple eloped and spent their honeymoon at Yellowstone National Park and driving around Wyoming before the Navy shipped Keith to Vietnam.

Two children and a grandson later, the couple’s lives changed in 2004 when Maryann received a call at work from a doctor in Salt Lake City.

Keith was driving on a cross-country road trip to attend his father’s funeral when he crashed into a guardrail.

“They blamed it on the wind,” Keith said. “I lost 33 units of blood. I had a collapsed lung, 27 broken bones, and I was on a ventilator. The doctor said he didn’t expect me to survive.”

At the time, the couple were living in San Dimas, Calif., and Maryann raced to find the quickest flight to Salt Lake City, where Keith was being treated.

It took him five months to be released from the hospital. In that time, Maryann would work for two weeks and then spend two weeks in Salt Lake City.

“I lost a lot of weight and earned a free trip on Southwest Airlines,” Maryann said. “I was really stressed.”

As a token of appreciation, Keith let Maryann drag him, wheelchair and all, to “Thunder From Down Under,” the Las Vegas male revue show, before heading home.

They moved to Las Vegas in 2011 and now spend their time boating and traveling across the country.

After almost 50 years of living together, the couple have learned how handle each other’s quirks and differences.

Keith is the money man and planner, while Maryann admits to being the romantic and more emotional one.

“We are a classic case of ‘opposites that attract,’ ” Maryann said. “I was a city girl, and he was a country guy. He had a reputation for being wild back then, and I was the good little Catholic girl. It makes for a lively relationship — never boring.”

Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at slopez@viewnews.com or 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

  • See more at: http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/love-stories/hurdles-fail-hinder-north-valley-sweethearts#sthash.yPDLsSi6.dpuf

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/real-life-love-stories-valley-couples-stick-together-amid-life-s-challenges

Real-life love stories: Valley couples stick together amid life’s challenges

7TZlNfyK-3SSLL1M3.mp4

View spoke with local couples for Valentine’s Day about overcoming challenges and hardships in their relationships.

Andy and Lee Lawson, shown Jan. 28, 2015, in their Sun City Summerlin home, met in high school and were immediately drawn to each other. But Lee was Jewish, and her father refused to let her date Andy because he was of a different faith. Forty-six years and several marriages later, they found each other again. (Michael Quine/View)

Andy and Lee Lawson, shown Jan. 28, 2015, in their Sun City Summerlin home, met in high school and were immediately drawn to each other. But Lee was Jewish, and her father refused to let her date Andy because he was of a different faith. Forty-six years and several marriages later, they found each other again. (Michael Quine/View)

A plaque hangs on the wall in Andy and Lee Lawson’s home to commemorate their love story. (Michael Quine/View)

Lee Lawson met her sweetheart in high school, but she was Jewish and back then dating someone outside your religion was frowned upon. (Michael Quine/View)

A photo shows Andy Lawson as he was when he and his now-wife Lee met in high school. (Michael Quine/View)

Andy and Lee Lawson, shown Jan. 28, 2015, in their Sun City Summerlin home, met in high school and were immediately drawn to each other. But Lee was Jewish, and her father refused to let her date Andy because he was of a different faith. Forty-six years and several marriages later, they found each other again. (Michael Quine/View)

Dina Proto, left, and Dina (Dom) Poist-Proto were involved in romantic relationships with other people when they met 10 years ago: Dina was married, and Dom was engaged. (Michael Quine/View)

When Dina Proto proposed to Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto, she did it with a candy heart that Dom had given her once before. (Michael Quine/View)

From left, Bob Babbitt, co-founder of Challenged Athletes Foundation, Eddie Garcia, Paralympic medalist Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Ryan Garcia, 7, and Antoinette Garcia stand together in Eddie Garcia’s home April 2, 2014, in Henderson. Garcia suffered from a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection that claimed both of his hands and feet in January 2013. Babbitt gifted new Ossur Flex-Run prosthetic legs to Garcia by means of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. (Ronda Churchill/View)

Jayne Post, left, and her husband Eric are shown in the “Marriage can be Murder” showroom at the D Las Vegas, 301 Fremont St., Feb. 2, 2015. (Bill Hughes/View)

Jayne Post, left, and her husband Eric are shown in the “Marriage can be Murder” showroom at the D Las Vegas, 301 Fremont St., Feb. 2, 2015. (Bill Hughes/View)

Eddie and Antoinette Garcia sit together at their home in Henderson. Garcia suffered from a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection in January 2013 that claimed both of his hands and feet. (Michael Quine/View)

Robert “Rob” Sundin III and Celestia Ward display some of the convention badges they’ve worn on corporate jobs in Las Vegas. (Diane Taylor/Special to View)

Celestia Ward and Robert “Rob” Sundin III dated for two years before getting married. In addition to Sundin’s three children, the household contains two rabbits and a dog named Katchoo. (Diane Taylor/Special to View)

Marty, left, and Pete Walsh share some love inside their Trifecta Gallery Dec. 23, 2014. After 11 years, the couple are closing their downtown Las Vegas gallery and looking forward to moving to Ireland. (David Becker/View)

imagevideo

 

VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSPAPERS

The stories of how Las Vegas Valley couples met and fell in love are as varied as the couples themselves. With Valentine’s Day here, the staff of View Neighborhood Newspapers talked with some of those couples about how they got together.

‘DON’T SAY A WORD’

Love is in the air. It’s always been in the air for Sun City Summerlin couple Andy and Lee Lawson, ever since the day they met as high school seniors in Arizona.

Andy and Lee attended the same high school in Tucson, but it was so large — 5,600 students — that they didn’t meet until their final year when both were in the senior class show. They started talking during rehearsals, and a spark was instantly struck. At one point, Lee went outside and hopped up on a table. That’s when Andy strode straight up to her and kissed her. It wasn’t a quick little peck.

“It was really special, like, ‘wow,’ ” Lee said. “I never forgot that kiss.”

They wanted to date, but Lee’s father was strict and said only a Jewish boy would do.

Andy was not Jewish.

After graduation, Lee went to Rochester, N.Y., to visit family. She found a job, and Andy followed, hoping to date her. But Lee’s family’s influence was strong. She said she couldn’t date him, so they went their separate ways.

She met a nice Jewish man, married and raised a family. But those moments with Andy still lingered in her mind. Years later, she attended her 20-year high school reunion.

“I (saw) Andy for about 45 seconds,” Lee said. “He started to walk toward me, and he said, ‘Just tell me …’ and his wife walked in the room.”

His wife’s strong rebuke kept Andy from finishing what he wanted to say.

After 20 years, Lee and her husband divorced. She moved back to Tucson and, finding Andy unavailable, married for a second time. Her second husband died 14 years later. Lee had another relationship, but her significant other developed lung cancer and died within four months of being diagnosed.

“I was taking care of him, and I picked up the paper one day, and I read that Andy’s wife had passed away,” Lee said.

It was a turning point. It was a time when both were unattached and free to pursue what might have been. Realizing the parallels in their lives, Lee felt strong enough after eight months of being single again to call Andy.

“He said to me, ‘When are we going to get together? It’s our turn now,’ ” Lee said. “We were both a nervous wreck.”

Two days before their date night, Lee got her hair colored and came home to find red roses waiting for her. The card read, “Can’t eat. Can’t sleep. Can’t wait to see you. Love, Andy.”

Then she got a call.

It was Andy. He had hurried back to town a day early.

“I said, ‘I can’t wait till tomorrow night. What are you doing tonight?’ ” he said.

He arrived promptly at 6:30 p.m., and when Lee opened the door, he put his finger to his lips.

“He said, ‘Don’t say a word, just kiss me,’ ” she said.

“I knew that (would give me) the answer, that I would know, that we both would know, if there was a connection,” Andy said.

They talked and kissed and laughed almost the entire night and never made it to dinner. Both said it was as if the intervening years had never happened.

Their wedding rings are inscribed with “It’s Our Turn Now.” Their personalized license plate reads: DSAWJKM.

It stands for: Don’t Say A Word Just Kiss Me.

— Jan Hogan, Summerlin Area View staff writer

PARTNERS IN BUSINESS, LIFE

Love stories often have the same narrative: Two people meet, fall in love, do crazy and romantic things together and get married. It often ends there or will fast-forward to the future with the couple raising happy children and staring into each other’s eyes as if they were on their first date.

The reality of marriage is far from a Hollywood plot, but it can be just as beautiful.

Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto are the faces behind Teazled, an LGBT greeting card company. They came up with their business after witnessing their children struggle to find the right card for their two-mother household. While their business is now blooming, their marriage wasn’t always easy.

The couple met 10 years ago while working as nurses at a local hospice. Dina was married with children, and Dom was in an eight-year relationship with her then-fiance.

“We became friends first, but then I don’t know what came over me,” Dom said. “We were standing at a nurses station, and I just looked at her, and I said, ‘Have you ever thought about being with another woman?’ She looked up and said, ‘No!’ and put her head down. That was the turning point of our friendship.”

Despite Dina’s answer, the couple knew they had something beyond friendship. Shortly after becoming friends, Dina divorced for the second time, and Dom filed for divorce three months after being married.

The pair began dating in August 2005, and on Valentine’s Day 2006, Dina gave Dom a card with a heart-shaped candy that said, “Marry Me?”

“I stared down at it, and I remember thinking, ‘Yes, I want to,’ but a little part of me wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Dom said. “So I said no, and I kept the heart and tucked it away.”

“Our relationship almost ended there,” Dina said. “But I knew (she’d) fold.”

Two years later, Dom proposed to Dina with the same heart-shaped candy she placed inside a box.

They married in September 2008 in Laguna Beach, Calif. Reality caught up with them a year later when Dina opted to have a bilateral mastectomy.

“I didn’t have breast cancer; they caught it before it got to that point,” Dina said. “But that experience taught me how to re-evaluate life. It pushed us to (start our business).”

Teazled was started in 2011.

Dom’s mother, who was against the couple’s relationship in the beginning, inspired messages written inside the cards. It took her five years to come to terms with Dom’s choice.

The couple dealt with the emotional heartache of having a family member against their relationship, but despite the challenges, Dom’s mother finally came to terms with her daughter’s relationship.

“Now she calls Dina more than she calls me,” Dom said. “You really don’t know about the good times until you’ve gone through bad times.”

— Sandy Lopez, North View staff writer

MARRIAGE STRENGTHENED BY troubles

When Henderson couple Eddie and Antoinette Garcia married 13 years ago, they became husband and wife. However, when Eddie’s limbs were amputated because of an illness, the couple not only re-learned their roles as husband and wife, they also became a man with no hands or feet and a caretaker.

Although they consider each challenge temporary, it’s clear their love is permanent.

“In the beginning, it was very hard,” Antoinette said. “He would get upset, or I would get upset, and I would be like, ‘You know what? We have to remember that this is temporary. Everything is temporary. You’re going to learn how to do this. We’re going to learn how to do this.’ ”

The couple’s love story began as acquaintances in elementary school when Antoinette’s mother would take her, Eddie and his brother to school. It wasn’t until high school that a friendship developed, and they began attending school games, going out to eat and talking on the phone together.

“I still remember my mom knocking on the door at 3 a.m. telling me to cut it off, so we had to sneak the phone calls late at night,” Eddie said. “We just continued our friendship, and we talked about anything and everything or sometimes nothing at all.”

After a few years of “officially dating,” Antoinette went shopping, put down a deposit on an engagement ring and called Eddie, who was home watching a football game.

“There was no proposal,” Antoinette said. “It was, ‘We’re getting married. Do you want a say in it or not?’ ”

The Garcias married Aug. 16, 2001, on a beach in Hawaii. Eddie said he contemplated filing for a divorce a few months later when Antoinette had “extreme mood swings” during a family trip. He was unaware that she was pregnant.

“I was so embarrassed. I thought she had just lost it, and we were going to have to get a divorce and move on,” Eddie said. “When she told me she was pregnant, all those feelings immediately disappeared. There was no doubt. I understood.”

After the birth of daughter Haley, the couple had four miscarriages while trying for a second child.

Looking for a fresh start in Southern California, they tried to purchase an investment home in Las Vegas, but the loan required that they live and work in the valley.

Desperate to provide for his family, Eddie moved to the valley on a whim to live in the house and work as a teacher for the Clark County School District. Antoinette joined Eddie after a year and became pregnant with son Ryan; however, the couple lost their house during the recession.

While teaching at Canyon Springs High School, Eddie fell ill with what he thought was strep throat. Within days, Eddie’s internal organs began to fail, so doctors placed him in a medically induced coma. The medications used to save his organs caused poor circulation in his hands and feet, forcing doctors to amputate them.

“After the surgeries, I told (Antoinette) that I understood if she wanted to leave me, but she just looked at me like I was crazy,” Eddie said. “She didn’t even hesitate. She just said, ‘No, we’re in this together.’ ”

Once discharged from the hospital, Antoinette became the hands and feet of the relationship by helping Eddie shower, get dressed and put on his prosthetic legs.

“There’s no room for an ego in our relationship. None at all,” Antoinette said. “Even though we still have them, we try not to because he needs to tell me what he needs, and I need to do it. If he needs ice in his water, I need to put ice in his water. It’s not a simple request; it’s a meaningful request for him.”

Although Antoinette is sympathetic to Eddie’s disability, he said she does not cater to him.

“One of my favorite stories from the hospital is when I had just had my hands amputated, and I wanted a drink of water,” Eddie said.

“I could have technically reached over and got a sip with the straw, but I tried to be a big baby about it. … She looked at me and she goes, ‘No sympathy; you can get it. Get it.’ After that, I knew I was going to be fine.”

From cooking to coaching sports, the Garcias have adapted back to their active lifestyle and learned to remain positive.

“When things get tough, the easy thing to do is give up, but we just keep battling things together as they come,” Eddie said. “Our journey together is not over. It’s just beginning.”

— Caitlyn Belcher, Henderson View staff writer

LOVING, LEAVING LAS VEGAS

The first time Pete and Marty Walsh drove through Nevada, they were not impressed.

“We had a Rand McNally road atlas we were using to navigate around the country,” Marty said. “We made little notes about the places on it. On the Nevada page, there was just one big word, ‘UGH!’ across the whole page.”

The pair had driven across the state on U.S. Highway 50, dubbed “the loneliest road in America” in a Life magazine article.

“At the time, I just saw it as barren and empty,” Pete said. “I grew up in Ireland, and all the mountains there are green and covered with life. After being here a few years, I saw those mountains with different eyes. I’d say now that ‘naked and raw’ is a better way of saying it. You can see billions of years of history on those mountains, and then you’ve got Vegas, where everything is new below them.”

Before moving to Las Vegas in 1999, the Walshes hadn’t lived anywhere for more than a few years. They longed to see places they hadn’t been. When they arrived here, they ended up setting down the deepest roots they had ever had, buying a home, setting up the Trifecta Gallery downtown and helping transform the 18b Arts District.

Now, they’re pulling up stakes again and heading back to the country farmland where Pete’s family has lived for generations.

“We’ve said every year, ‘Is this the year we go back?’ and it never was,” Pete said. “This year, we thought, if we don’t do it now, we might never, so we’re going there, and we’re building our little dream house.”

The couple met on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Marty had moved to start a deli with a friend while Pete way plying his skills as a carpenter.

“We met at a restaurant and went on a date the next night,” Marty said. “I was very impressed that he was such a gentleman.”

Both thought of it as a summer romance, but when Pete was called back home to Ireland because of an illness in the family, he couldn’t stop thinking about Marty.

“They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I guess that’s the case,” Pete said. “Maybe we wouldn’t have stayed together if I hadn’t gone home, but when I came back, we got pretty serious.”

The couple married on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts and lived on Martha’s Vineyard for eight years, with side trips to visit other places, including the long road trip that took them through Nevada the first time.

“We did a trip around the states in a Volkswagen bus,” Pete said. “We went 22,000 miles and went through 46 states in a hippie van.”

Their trips often led to places they didn’t expect. After spending the holidays with Marty’s parents in Louisville, Ky., they headed south to spend the winter somewhere warm.

“We were thinking St. Thomas or the Virgin Islands — someplace like that,” Pete said. “We stopped at a youth hostel in Georgia and ended up running the place.”

The hostel was managed by the owner’s son, who was called to the Peace Corps about the time the Walshes showed up. They were hired to manage the place and lived that winter in a treehouse on 90 acres of Georgia forest.

Pete and Marty came to Las Vegas to get in on the building boom, but Marty’s art and gallery soon became the center of the couple’s lives. Pete helped Marty renovate the gallery, and they ran it together, with Marty as the public face, choosing art, nurturing artists and bringing in notable speakers, while Pete quietly held things together in the background.

The Walshes have at least a few more months to work things out as they trim their belongings, say their farewells and prepare to head back across the ocean. They’ll keep in touch with their friends in Las Vegas and keep an eye on the local art scene.

Marty believes the local art scene is poised to move on to its next evolution. She feels that Pete’s description of the Nevada landscape is an apt one of what they’re leaving behind.

“Naked and raw — that’s a good way of putting it,” she said. “I think that’s kind of a metaphor for the whole state and the arts district. It’s open and exposed and ready to grow.”

— F. Andrew Taylor, East Valley View staff writer

http://downtown.vegas/noteworthy-june-2015/


6/03/15

Teazled is located on the second floor of Container Park and features a variety of greeting cards and gifts for the LGBTQ community, as well as their families and allies. Teazled is the only independently owned LGBTQ Greeting Card Manufacturer with its own retail space in the country. For more information: teazled.com.


http://jenntgrace.com/?s=teazled


www.clarkcountynv.gov/public-communication/news/pages/las-Vegas-5,000TH-marriage-license-issued-.aspx