Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Danica McKellar March 6, 2014

ImageRecently, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of returning to school for a graduate degree. Yet, whenever I start to warm up to the idea, I suddenly remember…I have to take the GREs, and that means…MATH! Eeek!

Just the thought of taking any sort of Math test makes my stomach start to do flips like it did in AP Calculus in high school. Wait, let’s be clear, in no way am I bragging that I was in Calculus. I barely made the cut and, sadly,  I think I was the lowest performing student in that class. I tried my best, though! In my eyes, anyone who can rock a Math test or a sail through a word problem is kind of a hero to me.

So I was floored when I found out that Danica McKellar  is a Math geek and education advocate who swoons over solving equations and loves making math fun. Yes, that’s right, Winnie from the ’80s/’90s TV series, “The Wonder Years.” But she doesn’t just dabble in the digits—this doe-eyed actress studied mathematics at UCLA and graduated summa cum laude. Shoot, Danica even co-authored a mathematical physics theorem called The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem!

Danica spreads her love for Math through her handful of books, which have a special focus on encouraging middle-school girls to dive in. Some of the whimsical titles include, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail and Kiss my Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss. I’m loving her fun and creative contribution to encouraging girls to pursue STEM passions.

However, if you’re not down for some geometry or trigonometry, then maybe you just want to support Danica as she counts her steps…as one of the newest competitors on “Dancing With the Stars.” Who wants to bet that she’s already crunching the numbers about her odds for winning?

Hmm, maybe I should see if she’d be down to be my tutor when I start studying for the GREs…

 

LizzLoves Rehab Addict Nicole Curtis February 24, 2014

NicoleCurtis

This past weekend, my to-do list had two home improvement projects that made me a little nervous: treat newly uncovered hardwood floors and fix a broken toilet.

 

Now, I’ve been doing or overseeing several projects over the past 9 months, but sometimes the beginning of a new one still makes a whisper of doubt pop into my head. But this time I smiled and got over myself when I remembered one of my new heroines: Nicole Curtis of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict.” 

 

Nicole is a Minneapolis-based flipper — she buys old homes, restores them to their original splendor and then sells them. But don’t get it twisted, she doesn’t just oversee and call the shots — she’s a hands-on part of executing everything. Self-taught in her craft, Nicole is always ready with her goggles, tools and work boots, diving headfirst into all the projects. And she’s damn good at it. You might not guess it by her size, but she’s not shy about wielding any power tool or scared to try a new method to ensure the integrity of a project.

 

I admire Nicole’s style and the quality of her work, but most of all, I love that she’s savvy and smart with her approach — from the extensive historical research that she puts into all her homes, to the efforts she makes to keep the work budget-friendly and authentic. She goes to great lengths to preserve the finishes that set  historical homes apart. She makes sure that she and her crew use all available original materials that are found in the house, but when that resource is exhausted, she makes regular trips to salvage yards and antique stores to find materials that will match the era of the home. Vintage, reclaimed, repurposed…Nicole gets creative, but lives up to her self-proclaimed title of preservationist.

 

She’s admitted in the past that she gets very emotionally attached to her projects, but all I see is some serious passion at work. Even if your home decor/design taste is more modern, you won’t be able to ignore her spitfire energy and can-do attitude.

 

So, the next time I get nervous about a home improvement project, I’m going to just picture Nicole fearlessly taking a sledgehammer to a wall. If she can do that, then I can, too…or at least I can try! :)

PS: The hardwood floors look great! 

 

LizzLoves Breast Cancer Charities October 30, 2013

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This month, it’s likely that you have been bombarded with events, products and requests for donations from several organizations, especially the biggest ones, Susan G. Komen and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. But before this month is over, I’d like to put the spotlight on a few smaller organizations that are making a difference and deserve your support. DailyWorth recently put together a great round-up of 8 breast cancer charities that you may not know. Here are a few of them:

  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer: Founded by radiation oncologist Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., this organization provides education and support to breast cancer fighters and survivors. LBBC’s outreach includes patients’ family members, friends and health care providers.
  • My Hope Chest: Alisa Savoretti, a breast cancer survivor, knows firsthand how daunting the cost of breast reconstruction can be. In order address the needs of uninsured or underprivileged women who cannot afford the surgery, Savoretti started this organization to help pay for their procedures.
  • Young Survival Coalition: This organization caters to those who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, with the awareness of their unique challenges of higher mortality rates, fertility issues and early menopause. This one hit home for me since I have two young women in my life who were diagnosed this year (and they both kicked cancer’s butt!).
  • Casting for Recovery: Using nature retreats (that include fly fishing) as a healing tool, CFR brings cancer patients to the outdoors for exercise and support from fellow fighters through group discussions and spiritual connection.

Hats off to these small organizations that are finding specialized ways to support fighters and survivors. To read about some more organizations on DailyWorth’s list, click here for the full article, “8 Great Little-Known Breast Cancer Charities.”

 

LizzLoves Girl Rising October 15, 2013

Girl Rising t-shirt

I used to have a t-shirt collection. I had ones about music, Latino culture, and ones with random cool graphics or witty sayings. But, eventually, I realized that my drawers (and my budget) wouldn’t support the plethora of t-shirts that I had accumulated. So now, I try to resist buying too many shirts that I know I can only wear casually.

Today, though, I knew I had to make an exception. Girl Rising posted a picture on Facebook of actress Freida Pinto rocking this awesome t-shirt (pictured above). The message immediately spoke to me, so with a few quick clicks, I bought one on their online store. As a bonus for buying this stylish tee, part of the proceeds go to Girl Rising’s 10×10 Fund for Girls’ Education.

If Girl Rising is new to you, this organization believes that if you educate a girl, you can change the world. It defines itself as a:

“…grassroots global action campaign for girls’ education, powered by girls, women, boys and men around the world who stand for equality…Girl Rising partners with established nonprofit organizations that drive donations to programs that help girls get in school and stay in school.”

One of the most buzzed-about ways that they spread their message is through their film by the same name, “Girl Rising,” which makes their movement even more personal by telling the stories of nine girls from across the globe.  Check out the trailer here.

Unfortunately, I missed out on a chance to see this film in NYC last week. But, if anyone is interested, perhaps we can join forces and organize a screening of the film in the near future! In the meantime, I’m going to be proud and happy to spread the message of Girl Rising by wearing my t-shirt as often as possible!

girlrising

 

LizzLoves Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen August 28, 2013

ImageAs a big Food Network fan, I’ve been dreaming about the day when I would have access to its sister station, Cooking Channel. Now that I finally have it at my fingertips, I’ve been meaning to catch a certain show all summer: “Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen.” The commercials alone made me think, “Wow, I have to see what this sassy lady is about!” Well, she didn’t disappoint!

Nadia G. (aka Nadia Giosia) is a fiery chef from Montreal with Italian roots. I think the best way to describe her is to imagine if you mixed up DNA from Kat Von D, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Joan Jett, with a hefty dose of girl power…you would have this kitchen mistress! Nadia G. combines great cooking, comedy and style into her presentation. Don’t sleep on her stiletto-slingin’ get up—she can throw down in the kitchen! I couldn’t rock some of the patent-leather platforms she does, much less make a roux while I’m in them! Hats off to her daring outfits that don’t cramp her serious culinary chops.

Nadia’s running commentary is full of giggle-inducing one-liners, but she takes it up a notch with her cast of colorful supporting characters: Panos the Fishmonger, Hans the “scantily-clad” Food Correspondent, and Yeres the Spice Agent. If you’re looking for some playful attitude, a rockin’ fun time, and some great recipes, Nadia G. is definitely your girl!

Readers: Do you have any favorite female chefs?

 

LizzLoves MineforNine August 21, 2013

Photo courtesy of minefornine.com

Right now, I have at least FIVE friends who are pregnant or who have very recently given birth. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a lot to me! But what’s even more shocking for me is that all of them manage to stay looking cute and stylish. I can imagine that it’s a huge challenge for an expectant mother to dress her newly unpredictable and ever-changing body…not to mention the cost! ($$)

Some of my friends only grew in the tummy area, so they could keep using a lot of their old clothes for a while. Experienced mamas knew what to expect because it wasn’t their first baby and they had clothes set aside. Other lucky ladies were able to borrow key clothing items—like belly bands, stretchy pants, and tunics—from their sisters or girlfriends.

But what happens to those women who don’t have those resources or have a tight budget? Well, one solution is a cool shopping site I found called Mine for Nine, which allows pregnant women to borrow clothing for the duration of their pregnancy, and return it when they’re done. So, for example, if you can no longer button your winter coat over your immense circumference, then you can borrow winter coat that fits you better! Borrowing clothing from Mine for Nine only costs a portion of buying it outright, but there is also an option to buy if you fall in love with something, or feel like you would like to use it for future pregnancies. There is a wide range of brands, styles and prices.

Mine for Nine was conceived (pun intended) by Marisa B. Moss and her two friends in 2008. The three of them, one expecting at the time and the other a brand new mom, were discussing the limited selection and high cost of maternity clothes. So they put together their years of marketing, business and technology experience to launch a online business that would help women find the right fit for them.

I also love that when a clothing item is still in good condition, but no longer fit for multiple “borrows,” Mine for Nine donates the dress to organizations like Dress for Success. Nice work, Mine for Nine!

Expectant mamas: what other creative solutions do you use for your clothing challenges?

 

LizzLoves Aqua Modesta August 14, 2013

Photo courtesy of Aqua Modesta

Last week, I was reading a book on the beach when, behind me in the distance, I could hear a large group of people approaching. I could hear the bubbly voices of a handful of older women, mostly drowned out by the happy shrieks from several children of many ages. When they finally came into view, I saw that there were four Muslim women, smiling despite the many bundles and supplies they were carrying, and about seven children.

 

All of the women were wearing hijabs (headscarves) and long sleeves. As I watched the ladies unpack and settle in, I thought to myself, “Oh man, what a shame that they don’t get to feel the sun on their skin and hair…” Well, of course, that was a silly way to think of it. There is plenty to enjoy about the beach without letting it all hang out in a teensy bikini—from the ocean views and salty breeze to wiggling toes in the sand.

 

But for one of the women, the fun didn’t stop there. I was so impressed when I discovered that one of the women (who also appeared to be the matriarch) was wearing a full coverage bathing suit—it included a headscarf, leggings, and a swim dress with long sleeves…all in bathing suit material!

 

This moment of awesomeness reminded me of a story I heard on WNYC radio about a year ago about religiously conservative women (such as Muslims and Orthodox Jews) who were struggling to find places where they could work out in the privacy of an all-women environment. The journalist, Arun Venugopal, interviewed several women, including Regina Tessone, an FIT graduate and Orthodox Jew who founded Aqua Modesta, a line of swimwear to “help women feel more comfortable in mixed-sex settings.”

 

However, because the style differed from Aqua Modesta, I think the swimsuit on the woman I saw on the beach was most likely from another swimwear line I found, Primo Moda. I also think that one of the pre-teen girls in their family might have been wearing something from another line called Simply Modest, which features swimshirts and leggings.

 

I really do love that Regina Tessone and other women like her are finding ways to help their sisters enjoy swimming and sports, while still maintaining their comfort level and religious practices! Brava!

 

 
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