Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves See Jane Drill April 21, 2016

janeA few weeks ago, my brother asked for my help with a project he was working on: building a chicken coop. Yup, you read that right, a chicken coop. Why is my brother getting chickens in the suburbs? That’s a story for another day. My first response was, “Chickens??” And my second one was “Um, I’m not sure how I can help because I’ve never built anything from scratch…” But my brother tends to make most things fun, so I said, “Sure, what the heck?” I’m pretty good at putting things together with (or without) directions, but this would be a whole new adventure.

As we were measuring, sawing, and nailing, I suddenly realized I had some relevant small talk to make! I chatted with my brother about some cool facts I learned about all the “hidden” features on a tape measure that I discovered on a very cool YouTube channel called “See Jane Drill,” a DIY home improvement video series hosted by Leah Bolden, a journeyman and certified building trades instructor with more than 20 years experience. Leah’s videos include repairs and improvements, with guidance that leaves people thinking, “Hmm ok, I could do that!” She’s a badass, but super nice and down-to-earth.

For now, I will continue to call the super if I need things fixed around my place, but once I own my own home…or build another animal enclosure, I will definitely be hitting Leah up for some tips!  Her toolbelt status gives a whole new meaning to girl power 🙂

Are you a handy woman? What’s the last thing you built? 

Advertisements
 

LizzLoves Project MC2 April 19, 2016

Filed under: education,girls,science,STEM,tech,TV,video,youth — lizzloves @ 1:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

mc2

I’m a big kid at heart. No, really. I am not ashamed to say that I still love cartoons (anyone want to see Zootopia with me?), a few “teeny bopper” shows, and I wholeheartedly fall in love with lots of YA novels on a regular basis.

So many of you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I checked out a Netflix tween/teen series that I’d read about recently. The series, called Project MC2, focuses on a smart and sassy group of high school girls who use their science skills to become a team of spies working to uncover a plot against a teen heartthrob. From gadgetry and chemical concoctions, to coding and tech, these girls have the STEM spectrum completely covered.  While these young ladies take their sciences very seriously, there is still plenty of room for silliness and sisterhood. I love that this diverse crew of chicas forge a friendship by showing off their “smarts” and by being their complete selves.

 

LizzLoves the Semicolon Movement July 25, 2015

I’ve been a writer and editor for over 15 years now. Through the years, I’ve learned from some crackerjack editors, and serious grammar queens, so I think I have a pretty good handle on structure, punctuation and such. However, there is one little mark that remains troublesome: the semicolon. The cute lil’ guy can mean so many things! It can mean “but,” it can indicate a list, it can almost replace “for example.” One thing all its meanings seem to hold in common, though, is a continuation.

semicolon

That must have been what Amy Bleuel thought, too, when she chose this symbol as the unifying image when she created a campaign, Project Semicolon, for bringing awareness to mental health issues. As an open display of a personal connection with mental health issues—whether with themselves or loved ones—Bleuel asks people to draw or tattoo semicolons on their bodies. Sadly, she too has had mental illness touch her life: her father committed suicide in 2003 and she has her own struggle with mental health issues. She told USA Today:

“I wanted to tell my story to inspire others to tell their story. I wanted to start a conversation that can’t be stopped, a conversation about mental illness and suicide…It’s impacted people who struggle with self-harm, addiction and suicide, as well as people who have lost people from suicide and addiction. It’s attracted everyone.”

Project Semicolon opens a much-needed dialogue for a community that needs support and affirmation, a group that has survived, healed and even those that still struggle. Creating this platform works to help them to remember that they aren’t alone.

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

To read more about Amy Bleuel’s amazing work and to see pictures of semicolon body art from across the globe, visit Project Semicolon’s site here

 

LizzLoves Carol Rossetti July 13, 2015

Say what you will about the evils, annoyances and oddities of social media, but more often than not, I find some fabulous and inspiring women by being plugged in to the matrix. About a year ago, I stumbled upon some thought-provoking drawings created by Carol Rossetti, Brazilian illustrator and graphic designer. Now I look forward to when her work pops up in my Facebook feed every week. Honestly, there hasn’t been one drawing that I haven’t fallen in love with for a variety of reasons.

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

All photos courtesy of carolrossetti.com.br

You see, Rossetti’s work is all about empowering women of all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, orientations, lifestyles, and ways of thinking. On a first glance, her vibrant artwork is almost whimsical, but when you look again, and read the captions and stories she adds to each picture, you will see she is doing a lot more than just capturing a diverse collection of women. Rossetti’s focus is on women’s freedom to truly be themselves and not be defined by others. She says on her website:

“I feel very disturbed by the world’s attempts to control women’s bodies, behaviors and identities; so I’ve started a series of illustrations in a friendly tone hoping to reach people about how absurd this really is.”

Not only is Rossetti helping to show the beauty and strength of all women with her drawings and words, but with some help, she has had her stories translated into several languages, like English, Spanish, Arabic and more. If you scroll through her work and find that many of them resonate with your experience or those of your sisters, that’s because the artist makes sure careful research goes into each woman’s story.

I already know I need one of her prints framed in my home, but it’s so hard to choose JUST ONE! But there are worse problems to have, right? 🙂 So, yeah…if you’re trying to think of a cool gift to get Lizz, you know where to go! (Start shopping here!)

Check out these examples of her work below — a woman who rocks her afro with confidence, a lesbian who won’t be judged by her family, a little girl who happily kicks some butt in karate instead of ballet, a woman who flaunts her grey hair, a Muslim woman who’s proud of her hijab, and a full-figured woman who embraces her size by showing it off in a bikini. To take a look at more of her awesome drawings here.

Rossetti understands the impact of her work, to the extent of even offering black and white versions of her works for free when they will be used in public spaces to educate and highlight women’s stories.

Obrigada, Carol, for your beautiful drawings,

but even more for your generous celebration of diversity! 

 

LizzLoves Black Barbie Petition July 4, 2015

Filed under: activism,culture,education,girls — lizzloves @ 1:30 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of Change.org

Photo courtesy of change.org

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find change.org petitions addictive. I get a few of them a week via email and, let me tell you, they can be a bit hard to ignore. There are so many great causes and the people behind them pull you in with their passion. But I like to be genuine and committed to things I sign, so I’ve managed to resist the urge to become too sign-happy. However, when I saw this recent petition about bringing diversity to the Barbie line, my mouse finger instantly started to itch to join the others who believed in this cause.

This new petition really resonated with me because I felt like Tessa, the young woman who started it, was telling a little bit of my own childhood story. I, too, was a little brown girl who grew up searching for dolls and images that looked more like me. Not only was I a Latina growing up in a predominately white town, but I was also adopted by a white family. My mom recalls me constantly looking for dolls that looked like me — the closest matches became Snow White with her black hair, a limited edition Hawaiian Barbie, and a “My Child” doll who looked like me…save for her green eyes. Needless to say, especially in the ’80s, it wasn’t easy to find a doll that looked like Little Lizz.

So, in some ways, it shocks me that this petition brings to light that diversity is still an issue with the Barbie line. How can it be, with such a long history and large profit, that Mattel has not made their dolls more ethnically diverse? While it could make a lot of little girls very happy, and that should be the priority…wouldn’t it also make them a lot more money? Even the “American Girl” line is way ahead of them. Come on, Mattel, get with the times!

I happily signed this petition for the little girl in me, and for all of the little girls who deserve dolls that look like them so their playtime imaginations can feature women of color in successful, adventurous roles. Will you sign, too?

Did you have dolls that looked like you when you were a little girl?

 

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 Breast Cancer Charities October 30, 2013

Image

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.”