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? 

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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 Samar Minallah Khan July 6, 2015

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

Photo courtesy of samarminallahkhan.com

More and more these days, I’ve been hearing both women and men say that feminism is not a women-only movement. It’s been interesting to see how men have added their voices and influence to the movement, and how women have engaged them and leveraged their involvement to fuel progress.

One such woman is filmmaker Samar Minallah Khan who has focused her work on bringing an old Pakistani practice to the spotlight — swara, where a daughter is given away as payment for a crime. After several years of studying the practice and its victims, Khan, who is an anthropologist and documentarian, produced a documentary in 2003 called Swara—A Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Her work initially addressed all sides of the practice, incorporating all voices just to give the full picture to educate viewers. However, what struck her most were the men who had the courage to refuse to give their daughters away. She told NPR:

“Men, too, face hurdles for speaking up and for challenging norms,” she says. “Standing up in the face of society and country expectations, that takes a lot of courage.”

And their bravery paid off. In 2004, Pakistan outlawed swara, making it illegal to give away daughters to compensate for crimes.

Khan was recently honored as one of five women honored with a Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices, a group founded by Hillary Clinton after the World Conference of Women in Beijing in 1995.

Thank you for your activism, Samar. I look forward to following your work that challenges norms and gives voice to untold stories!

 

LizzLoves Women Coaching in the NBA August 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of WNBA

Becky Hammon, Photo courtesy of WNBA

Did your jaw drop yesterday when you heard the news? Did you think this day would ever come? I have to be honest…I didn’t! As cool as I knew it would be for a woman to be a coach for an NBA team, I just couldn’t see it truly happening. But, yes folks, this week it was announced that Becky Hammon was hired as the first full-time female hire for an NBA coaching staff — as assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In her own basketball career, Becky has been a standout — with nearly 16 seasons under her belt in the WNBA, and seven times as an All-Star. So the woman knows her stuff…and then some!

We can do air high-fives and hat tips to Becky, we should definitely also give shout-outs to a few women who paved the path for her to step into this prestigious role:

  • Most recently, Natalie Nakase, who coached the L.A. Clippers summer league this year, and cut her teeth 3 years ago as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, as the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball.
  • Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League team in 2009
  • Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02.
Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

But Becky Hammon said it best:

“There’s women that have trail-blazed much bigger paths and really trail-blazed the path for things like this to happen. There’s a lot more important things going on, in the bigger things, CEOs of companies. Women are really in every area. They’re in the surgery rooms. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re COOs. So even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I had as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail. So I’m really just reaping benefits of all their hard work and labor.”

Much respect to Becky for acknowledging her sisters who have made it possible for her, and other women in the future, to use their skills, experience and passion for the game to lead other talented athletes to success.

 

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

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.”