Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

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

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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 Kangu April 4, 2013

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Think about the last time you made a donation to a charity. What motivated you to reach for your credit card? For me, I have to feel like I’m part of something, of effecting change, in very personal way. One of my new favorite charities for that type of buy-in is Kangu.

This nonprofit uses a combination of old school (i.e. Save the Children) and new school (crowdfunding) tools to support women in developing countries to have pregnancies, births and newborn babies that are safe and healthy. According to Kangu’s site, “It has been shown that 80% of maternal mortality can be avoided if a woman is given access to the basic healthcare services our partners offer.”

Founders Casey Santiago and Tricia Morente (both Columbia Business School MBAs and grads of the Masters program for International Affairs at Columbia), designed this program to allow donors to have a tangible and more intimate connection with the women they are supporting. The way it works is:

  1. You search Kangu’s collection of mothers from across the globe who need help to find the “mama” you want to fund.
  2. Once you choose her, you begin to make monthly contributions to fund her safe pregnancy by giving her quality healthcare.
  3. Your contribution ensures the chance for a safe birth for her baby

I love that Kangu’s team is not only making efforts to solve this issue, but also that they discovered an innovative way to engage their donors/supporters in a uniquely personal way. I look forward to finding a “mama” to connect with so that she can experience the joy and security of having a healthy pregnancy and future child.

 

LizzLoves Cook For Your Life November 26, 2012

cookforyourlife.orgAs I feasted on my 3rd installment of Thanksgiving leftovers tonight, I was thankful for the mix of flavors, from the tangy sweetness of cranberry sauce to the salty, peppery meat stuffing. This year, however, I had to be extra grateful for something simple: the ability to taste.

Lately, taste and the ability to enjoy food has been on my mind a lot. As a bit of a foodie, I can’t imagine what it would be like to suddenly lose my sense of taste or to not be excited about a delicious meal. Unfortunately, that’s what my very best friend in the world, who is fighting breast cancer, has been going through. As if chemotherapy didn’t already suck, one of the crappy side effects can be a loss or change in your ability to taste. Imagine having a strong craving and then when you get that supposedly yummy item…it tastes weird, awful, or worse, like nothing?

Well, Ann Ogden, founder of the nonprofit, Cook For Your Life, knows a lot about how that feels. As a cook, Ann loves food, but as a two-time cancer survivor, she also knows what it’s like to have chemo give your taste buds a one-two punch. As she told DailyWorth, “After recovering from treatment, I started to crave hot, spicy foods to knock the taste of chemo out of my mouth: Indian, Korean, Mexican.”

So, Ann found healthy and delicious ways to work with her struggling taste buds during chemo. But that wasn’t enough. She realized that there must be people everywhere who shared a need for this culinary comfort, and she wanted to pass it on. Ann left behind a career in the fashion industry to launch her site, Cook For Your Life, which teaches healthy cooking to people touched by cancer. The recipe search gives options for people who are going through chemotherapy and radiation, and even gives some food remedies for combatting symptoms like nausea and fatigue.

I hope that I can visit my friend again soon so we can cook up something from the Cook For Your Life collection together. Thank you, Ann Ogden, for spreading your knowledge, love and compassion for your fellow fighters and survivors!

 

LizzLoves Vogue Choosing Healthy Models May 8, 2012

Cover courtesy of Vogue

I try not to make a habit of repeating topics two posts in row, but when I saw this article on NPR about Vogue agreeing to only use healthy models, I knew I had to do a follow up. In a nutshell, the editors of 19 global editions of Vogue are trying to make a step in the right direction by agreeing to:

  • not work with models under age 16
  • not work with models who appear to have an eating disorder
  • encourage healthy eating lifestyle among models
  • encourage designers to “promote the casting of models from a broader range of body sizes.”

These are only some of the points in their pledge to change the current harmful practices in the modeling industry that are all too common.

 

What do you think? Is this enough? What else should Vogue and other high-fashion magazines do to change the modeling industry?

 

*One more update: Remember Julia Bluhm’s petition to Seventeen magazine in the last LizzLoves post? Well, Seventeen invited Julia to their offices. Read this New York Times “Motherlode” blog post for an update and details about her visit here.

 

LizzLoves Healthy Body Images for Girls April 30, 2012

Filed under: health,women,youth — lizzloves @ 1:07 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo courtesy of Dove

Recently, I signed a Change.org petition that asks Seventeen magazine to make a new effort to portray realistic images of young women.

 

If you know anything about Change.org, then you know that this online platform places the power of social change in the hands of anyone who is passionate about an issue. The site transforms users into activists by allowing them to combine e-petitions with social media to spread the word.

 

Julia Bluhm, a 13-year-old, wants to spread the word about how Seventeen‘s current portrayal of young women makes her and her friends feel. When I got her Change.org letter via email, I knew I had to support her petition:

 

…she says she feels the pressures created by these fake photos every day.

“I’m in a ballet class with a bunch of high school girls,” Julia says. “On a daily basis I hear comments like: ‘It’s a fat day,’ and ‘I ate well today, but I still feel fat.'”

…Seventeen‘s editors freely admit they retouch photos — one of the magazine’s editors even wrote, “You know how everyone says celebrities look good in photos because they’re airbrushed? Well, it’s true!”

But these fake photos have a real impact on young girls. Nearly half of girls between first and third grade say they want to be thinner. And by the age of ten, 81% of girls say they’re “afraid of getting fat.”…

 

So Julia is asking Seventeen to start small by running one unaltered photo spread in each issue of their magazine. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask…do you? If not, follow the link below to make your voice heard! She only needs 200 more signatures to meet her goal.

 

Sign Julia’s petition here to speak up for promoting

realistic & healthy body images for young women 

Change.org

 

LizzLoves Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine July 22, 2011

Lately, I’ve become aware of so many incredible documentaries being made, but when my friend sent me a link for “Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine,” I knew I had to bring it to LizzLoves readers.

 

“Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine” not only touches on the historical journeys of some of the first black female doctors to break ground in our country, but also chronicles the present-day success stories of black women in medicine today.

 

The film is the brainchild seasoned director Crystal Emery, who has been nurtured by notable filmmakers such as Bill Duke and Lloyd Richards. She also has several other films under her belt that uplift and educate communities. Crystal was inspired to make “Present and Unaccounted For…” after she met Doris Wethers, one of the first black women to attend Yale Medical School, and Beatrix Hamburg, the first woman to graduate from Yale Medical School.

 

Unfortunately, as Crystal and her nonprofit production company, URU The Right To Be, started shooting footage, a significant backer pulled out of the project, bringing production to a halt.

 

But, if you’re like me, you don’t want this reel to end up on a dusty shelf somewhere. Crystal has launched a Kickstarter campaign where people can make donations, large or small, to help this project reach completion.

 

So, be part of showing our daughters, nieces, sisters and all young ladies who aspire to careers in medicine, that not only can they accomplish what they set their minds to, but that there is a sisterhood that has laid the ground for them!

 

Click here to watch a piece of some of the inspiring footage and to find out how you can help this empowering story be told!