Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Angelina’s Fight Against Ovarian Cancer is Relevant to Millennials

Found here
Angelina has been praised for raising awareness of the choices women have when it comes to ovarian cancer. At 39 she’s had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed due to the increased likelihood of ovarian cancer because she carries the BRCA gene mutation. Ovarian cancer mainly affects women in their 50s and older but it’s also the fifth most common cancer among women and causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer.

Most people first became aware of the BRCA gene mutation when she wrote about her decision to get a double mastectomy in 2013. The gene mutation isn’t common but roughly more than half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer- with or without the gene mutation- will die. It’s harder to detect in the early stages since it can feel like a bladder or digestive problem so more often than not it’s discovered when it’s Stage 3 or 4. Because of this, women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer while in their twenties or thirties are likely to have to undergo surgery. 

The Affordable Care Act includes insurance plans that cover genetic counseling and testing specifically for women with a history of breast and ovarian cancer linked to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.  There is no screening test for ovarian cancer. Besides BRCA carriers, women who started menstruating before 12, got pregnant after 30 or have never been pregnant or taken oral contraceptives are at greater risk, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Despite it being considered an “older woman’s cancer,” experts estimate that 500 to 1,000 cases occur in females under age 20. Though there is no way to prevent cancer, there are a few ways to decrease the chance of having ovarian cancer that can also improve your overall health. Like Angelina stated at the end of her piece, “knowledge is power.”

  • Add Flaxseed to your diet: Flaxseed is the richest plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. One study found that a flaxseed rich diet for one year reduced the severity of ovarian cancer. While it didn’t decrease the incidence of ovarian cancer, it was less likely to metastasize which is the main cause of death with this type of cancer.

  • Take aspirin daily: A recent study showed it may reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent. Daily aspirin use has its own side effects including upper gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke so consult a doctor.

  • Birth control: The use of Depo-Provera for three years or more showed an 83 percent risk reduction. Taking the birth control pill for 15 or more years cuts the risk of ovarian cancer by 58 percent and even women who’ve used it for one to four years cut their risk by 22 percent. These are not recommended as preventative options but if you are taking birth control it certainly helps to know you’re potentially cutting your risk of ovarian cancer by more than half.

  • Workout: Besides hitting the gym more often, there are several healthy foods to incorporate into your diet that also fight cancer including kale, garlic and legumes. A report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund released last year linked obesity with ovarian cancer.  Researchers found that a 5-point increase in a woman's body-mass index (BMI) increases her risk of ovarian cancer by six percent. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI over 30 is obese.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Treat Yo Self Friday: Subscription Boxes

I initially got into the sub box craze after my 9-year-old pit Rocco was diagnosed with cancer. He had to undergo surgery and chemo and I thought it would be fun to sign up for Barkbox so he'd get monthly treats and toys. I kept it for almost a year and loved every box, seriously, it was like I was getting a gift every month. But the joy of seeing Rocco and my other dogs, Dante and Bella, playing with their new toys was my gift. That said, I just signed up for another sub box this time for my mom's birthday. My friend sent me a referral for Ipsy so I decided to try it out. Unlike Barkbox, for Ipsy I had to refer friends, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on IG and Twitter in order to get off the wait list. I did all that and tweeted them letting know and that it was for my mom's birthday and they immediately took me off the wait list so at least they've got good customer service. She gets her first box next month so we'll see. In the meantime I can't help but think about what I'd sign up for if I could afford to indulge myself so here are my Top 5:

PopSugar Must-Have

Found here

Fitness, beauty, and food all in one box... What's not to like? Plans start at $39.95 which is a little pricey for me right now but it looks like it's worth it. Plus, every box is worth double the price you pay if not more.

Julep Maven 

Found here

I kept seeing the ads on Facebook but it wasn't until my friend gifted me some Julep nail polish that I became interested. The polish was peachy color and it lasted a few days which is unusual for me since I'm notorious for not wearing gloves when cleaning the dishes. I like that you can change up the colors and products- it's nice to have a little power over what you get.


Found here
Kate Hudson co-founded the brand of activewear and I'm loving the looks. How cute is the black tee that drapes in the back? The leggings look comfortable but also thick enough so that I'm not insecure about my underwear showing (cause we've all been there, right?). The first box is $25 which is a great deal for active wear- I'm so tempted.


Found here

It's the original beauty subscription box and seems a lot like Ipsy so I'm not sure which is allegedly the better box or if they're essentially the same. It also starts off at $10 and provide deluxe samples but maybe they have access to better/different brands? Either way it's the OG beauty box and it's lasted despite the competition so that's saying something.

CauseBox by Sevenly

Found here

I found out about Sevenly through Facebook ads and liked that they give $7 of every purchase to charity. They just started their sub box service and it's all about socially conscious products. You get to select which charity gets a portion of the proceeds from your box plus all the products benefit non-profit organizations or  businesses in Africa, India etc. It's a quarterly box and costs $49.95 if you pay up front for a year subscription. It's definitely the priciest of all the boxes I've listed but considering the proceeds help so many people I wouldn't mind paying that much.

So that's my wish list. Do you have any sub boxes you're interested in? Any opinions on the ones I've listed? Recommendations?

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Law of the Wild

Found here

When I saw this obviously I was in awe of their interaction  but also how it reiterates that there is still so much humans can learn from wildlife.

I remember reading about how many sharks are killed annually and I was shocked: 

Based on available data for shark deaths and estimates of unreported illegal catches, the researchers estimated that 100 million sharks were killed in 2000 and 97 million in 2010. But since scientists lack sufficient data on shark catches, they say the real number of annual shark deaths could possibly be between 63 million and 273 million.. Sharks are fished for their meat, liver oil, cartilage and valuable fins, which are hacked off, often from live sharks, to be used in shark fin soup, an ancient and prized delicacy in East Asia.
How many people die of shark attacks annually?

 The United States averages just 16 shark attacks each year and slightly less than one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 41 people each year.. Each year there are about 50 to 70 confirmed shark attacks and 5 to 15 shark-attack fatalities around the world.

On a lighter note, it also made me realize I too need to  not eat if I'm not hungry. I don't care if I feel in my heart that the leftover pizza is calling me, I don't need to eat it just cause it's there. (must repeat this to myself when temptation hits).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Working Through the Pain

I have Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome aka PFPS aka runner's knee. The odd thing is I was never really an athlete or a runner so I'm not sure how it happened but it hit when I was a teen which, as it turns out, is fairly common for PFPS. I was told I couldn't walk or run more than a 1/4 mile which was great for me at the time since I hated running during P.E. Now it's a lot harder for me since I love to take my dogs on 2-4 mile  walks daily. I was also attempting the Lazygirl butt challenge (love the name) but once it got to 40 squats and lunges the pain became unbearable. I was researching ways to work out my glutes without putting too much pressure on my knees and came across this article.

Bridge is one of my favorites.
The bluish fog at the bottom is the beach. 

I wish I could take a beautiful jumping shot like Giselle but my hair does NOT flow gracefully in the wind, le sigh. Even jumping hurts after a while from the pressure that hits my knees when I land but heck, it's a must when I go to the beach.The photo above was an exceptionally foggy day where you could not see the beach from the hiking trails!

I'm going to incorporate the lower body toning exercises into my workout (I'm still doing the Lazyfit ab challenge) and hopefully I'll see results.

How have you worked through a similar physical problem to stay/get in shape? Have you ever heard of PFPS?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's All in the Details

Last week was crazy busy with work and it being the week of my mom's birthday I had requested Ellen tickets which we were lucky enough to get. Not only did we get to see Ellen but we got in for the taping of Michelle Obama's episode! But that's for another post, this post is about home decor.

I've been thinking about what I would change if I had a bigger space. Here are my top five accents:

Honeycomb/ hexagon mirrors:
Found here

Garden wall planter turned fruit basket:

Found here   

A Glitter Wall:

Found here

String Lights on a headboard:
Window Picture Frame:
Found here

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Homemade mini chicken pot pies

On a monthly if not biweekly basis I get together with one of my girlfriends and either I make lunch or she buys lunch. We didn't decide that I would be the one to cook but it just worked out that way and I've actually come to enjoy trying out new recipes. It rained last weekend and today was really windy (those Santa Ana winds make you believe you can fly) so a warm chicken pot pie seemed like the perfect dish. I debated do a full on pie but just didn't have the time so thank you Pillsbury for coming to the rescue!

I used two cans of their biscuits (side note: I'm a wimp when it comes to popping them open and BOTH cans actually exploded this time!), cream of chicken, chicken strips, carrots, celery, and peas. I didn't use one particular recipe but the few I browsed asked that I cover the filling. Now, the biscuits I used weren't the layered buttery Grands so I didn't have a lot of biscuit to work with. Instead, I used bread crumbs.

I cooked them at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes and they were delicious. I didn't have time to shoot the process and only got one iPhone shot of the final dish but I'm sure I'll be making it again.

Has anyone else made these before? What's your experience been like? Also, am I the only one afraid of the popping Pillsbury cans? Say it ain't so.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sisters are DIYing it for themselves

This year, my friend and I decided to make each other homemade gifts even though neither one of us is the DIY type. Knowing that I'm a bookworm she made me this:

She chose David Copperfield.
I could never do this myself because how could I cut into a book like that? But I admit that a hollow book is pretty cool though I'm still trying to figure out what to put in it.

As for me... well I've decided to attempt to create a mosaic jewelry box. I'm still trying to figure out how it's gonna work but I'm optimistic. I also have a small, white wallet and I plan on getting metallic letters to glue on her initials. A couple of years ago I got her a black, glittery Batman wallet which she loves but since she's about to graduate law school she thinks she needs something more "sophisticated."

Here's a design that's got me inspired:

Photo from Architecture Art Designs

 On the one hand, this could turn out beautifully... on the other, I will end up with a mishmash mosaic that will strongly differ from the mental image I had. The latter has been my typical experience with art but, like I said, I'm optimistic.

Will post a photo once it's done!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perfect Imperfections

I think that something needs to be weird in order to have a real beauty- CR
The upcoming sixth CR Fashion Book will be out March 5 but let's discuss the cover for a second...

Carine Roitfeld, the 60-year-old former Vogue Paris EIC,  didn't get to where she is by following the beaten path. Ever since I watched her documentary on Netflix she's become one of my girl crushes. She's been with her partner for 30+ years, they  have two seemingly grounded kids and she's made quite a name for herself in the dog-eat-dog fashion world. Despite her success, most people outside the fashion  world have no idea who she is- she doesn't have the name recognition of Anna Wintour but she has arguably equal success.

While Vogue is very particular about who makes the cover (not much diversity there) it's refreshing to see a girl with braces on the cover of a major fashion publication. When Photoshopped images are the default for publications, I love that she went with something atypical. This may not be the most groundbreaking cover, but I think it's a step in the right direction.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rainy Day musings

Lazy Sundays become lazier when it's raining- this is a fact. Here's a rundown of the best things to do on a rainy Sunday (according to me). 

Read A Confederacy of Dunces. Why? It's  ripe with quick wit and intellect while on the surface it's a funny and relatively easy read.

Watch Six Feet Under if you haven't already because it's AMAZING. It's right up there with House, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones as one of my favorite dramas because it's so well-written and captivating. It revolves around a family who own a morgue- do I have your attention now? Every episode begins with a death just like every episode of House began with a mysterious ailment. Somehow this individual will play a part in the story and it's fun to watch how it all connects.  It's a decade old so you'll see cameos from Skyler White, Dwight Schrute, and the Evil Queen before they rose to fame.

Listen to Alabama Shakes Gimme All Your Love, Run Run Run by Kelly Clarkson and John Legend, and Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie.

Bonus: Watch this clip of Louis C.K. talking about how he took care of his dog after she ate dark chocolate. It doesn't sound like a funny situation but he's that good.