Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

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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LizzLoves Surf With Amigas June 26, 2013

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The other day I spent an evening on the beach at the Jersey Shore, wiggling my toes in the sand and taking in the sights, particularly the wetsuit-clad surfers who were braving the chilly waters. Suddenly in the distance I saw another surfer join the wave riders. From afar, I could see the figure was much smaller than the other surfers and the surfboard was almost twice the size of the person.

As they got closer, I realized…it was a woman! I was so excited, I stayed to cheer her on (in my head, at least!). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see her catch a wave before I had to leave, but I was giddy watching a girl holding court among the guys.

That surfer girl made me recall a very cool woman, Holly Beck, who I saw on episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” Holly, a former pro surfer, was searching for a place to launch her dream of starting a surfing school in Nicaragua, especially for women. She knows, first hand, that it can be tough as a woman on the waves. As a kid, Holly was told that surfing was for boys, so it’s a good thing she didn’t listen. She now makes it her business, literally, to inspire women to hang ten with confidence and a sense of adventure. Now the school, Surf With Amigas, is so successful that they’ve even expanded to offering retreats in El Salvador and the Philippines.  As part of their program, SWA also offers yoga, local outings, hikes, and, most importantly, a unique sense of supportive sisterhood.

If you’re not up for a trip to Nicaragua, then there are a few other awesome women-run, women-focused surf schools out there, like Surf Diva (California & Costa Rica) and Las Olas Surf Safaris (Mexico). Surf’s up, ladies!

 

LizzLoves Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua December 31, 2011

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Ladies, did you play sports as a kid? For me, there was no question about whether or not I COULD play sports, it was just a matter of which ones! I played soccer, softball and basketball from the time I was 4 years old. I also did ballet, tap and gymnastics. And my parents were equally supportive of both. Of course, it helped that in the community and society in which I was raised, little girls and women didn’t have to face obstacles to explore the world of competitive athletics. However, not everyone is that lucky.

 

Soccer Without Borders is an international nonprofit that works to empower youth with soccer as a catalyst. While they have outreach and camps in several countries, one of their efforts called to me in a special way: a girls team in Granada, Nicaragua. Through participation in the SWB program there, these Nicaraguan girls not only build self-esteem and develop a stay-in-school mentality, but they can also gain “points” they can exchange for school supplies, clothes and toiletries.

 

I was so inspired by these chicas, that I included them in my holiday giving by donating to their project through Global Giving. To watch a video of the girls and learn more, click here.

 

Before the new year hits…are you supporting girl power organizations with a donation this year?

 

For another inspiring Latin American soccer story, you should also check out “Dreamtown,” an unforgettable documentary (produced/directed by my talented friend Betty Bastidas) about 3 young Afro-Ecuadoran men who struggle to follow their dreams of finding success as soccer players.

 

 

LizzLoves ChickRx December 7, 2010

This past week I’ve gotten a flurry of news from several friends who are suffering from one of this season’s not-so-jolly offerings: a sniffly, sore-throat cold.

 

With so many girlfriends looking for some healing advice and health tips, a site I discovered came to mind: ChickRx, a new health website that is made just for the ladies.

 

ChickRx isn’t cold, inaccessible or frightening like some health/medical websites can be. Think of it more like WebMD-meets-Sex in the City-meets-your best girlfriend with whom you can share your best body gross-out stories.

Weighing in on sex, fitness, relationships, dermatology and health, this site tells it like it is with lots of fun attitude, but still providing useful information. They’ve enlisted a team of experts who can best address a variety of health questions from their readers.

 

Here’s a quick sampling of some of their articles: