29 August 2015

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Things #3

Before I share anything else, I want to say thank you for your comments on my post about The Pretty Girls.  Once I hit "Publish" I was thinking that I would get a lot of criticism (though hardly anyone reads this blog!), so I was especially glad that anyone who commented understood what I was saying.  :-)

So here are some of the things  I found interesting over the past week, and thought you might enjoy.

A fifteen-minute workout that even I can probably do.

I am always saying that I would like to try running a 5K.  If I ever decide I mean it, here is some guidance ...

While we're on the topic of exercise, take a look at this blog post - it was one of the favorite things I saw all week.  I love the heels as appropriate exercise shoes, and the cigarette break!

How great was it that for a change, Americans did something that made a lot of people happy by subduing the guy on the French train?  The Tim and I had a discussion about what they wore when receiving the French Legion of Honor.  The Washington Post noticed, too.

A lovely blog post, whether or not you are religious.

I can't wait to knit this - and the pattern is free!

A few years ago, after I got my first cancer diagnosis, I was walking home, lost in my own thoughts.  A guy I walked past said, "C' mon, sweetie, give us a smile.  It's not like you have cancer or something."  I responded, "Actually, I just found out I had cancer, but thank you for your concern."  In reality, I hoped he would then jump in front of a bus, but I doubt that happened.  This article is about the "need for females to smile."

And finally - weird but interesting.  Who ever wondered about this?  Certainly not me!

And that's it for today. Hope you found something you enjoyed here.  Have a wonderful weekend!

27 August 2015

The Problem with The Pretty Girls

If you have been paying attention to the news during the past week or so, you have probably seen/heard reports about signs hanging at fraternity houses, dorms, or off-campus houses of male college students, saying things like "Drop off your daughter here - Mom can come too!" or "Daughter Day Care."

Haha.  Soooo funny.  Except they are not.  They are at best rude, and at worst, misogynistic.

Several colleges have taken actions to suspend groups whose signs have appeared on campus.  Each group has SWORN they meant nothing bad, they were "just having fun."

And you know how it is - boys will be boys, right?  (Don't EVEN get me started on that phrase/belief/cultural practice!)

It's all bad enough before The Pretty Girls even get involved.  I'm sure we all know/have known at least one person who was one of The Pretty Girls.  They are the girls who are nice looking, with nice clothes who love to have a good time.  They like to go along with all the fun things at parties, they love to be seen at all the right places on campus, with the right crowd.  They are often nice enough, and friendly enough.  They are not necessarily academically stellar, but not necessarily on the verge of flunking out either.  Their mothers are often former Pretty Girls, or Pretty Girl wannabes.  Their siblings are often other Pretty Girls or Cool Guys.  If they are not , they are usually not spoken of much at all.

In and of themselves, The Pretty Girls can be harmless.   But this week, I saw two different news reports where reporters asked one or more of The Pretty Girls what they thought about those offensive signs.  To a person, they laughed and said things like, "Oh I thought it was funny," "They were just joking," "It is college, you know."  And worst of all, a local news reporter and obvious former Pretty Girl even said after the report, "Well, it was just the guys having fun, you just always need to let your daughters know there is a fine line," and happily laughed it off.

But see, here is the problem. For whatever reason, too many males (college-age and otherwise) think this kind of thing is really funny.  I am willing to bet that at least half of them have never even thought about it NOT being funny.  And as long as The Pretty Girls think it's cute or funny or "just college," there are no reasons for males to think otherwise.  Because, you know if "ugly" girls (read: average-looking) think it's offensive it's probably because they are jealous of the attention.

As someone who was never even eligible to be one of The Pretty Girls (and full disclosure here - never wanted to be one), I'm here to say that it is extremely offensive and at a minimum also quite intimidating to see those kinds of signs.  Anywhere. Any time.

College or high school or heck, even just everyday life, is hard enough without someone joking about what could happen to you just because you are female.  I was lucky in high school - I got fairly good grades and The Pretty Girls were often nice to me ... at least until they realized I wouldn't do their work for them. So I managed to be a bit more invisible, since it was a large school.  In college, it was worse because I went to a small college and there were a lot of well-to-do boys-will-be-boys-ha-ha types and a lot of The Pretty Girls.  I seldom went to school social events, partly because I had two jobs and partly because I didn't even want to see what happened or could happen, whether it was to me or to anyone else.

I am a feminist.  I do not hate men.  I have a really good sense of humor.  I am highly cynical.  I would like to think I am also very empathetic.  I am a regular-looking person, and always have been.  (Granted, now as an older adult woman, I am truly invisible, which is a whole 'nother kind of post here.)

I do think that most parents try to raise their children well, and to be good people.  And I do think that a lot of people who have sons are trying VERY hard in this day and age to make those sons aware of the responsibilities that go with their gender.  I think that a lot of people who have daughters do the same.  In a perfect world, no one would have to even know how The Pretty Girls felt about things, because those things would not be issues in the first place.

But at this point in time, the world is not perfect.  Signs hang at college dorms on move-in day that should never hang anywhere, and The Pretty Girls are happy to laugh it off.

And - as far as I'm concerned - *that* is the problem with The Pretty Girls.

22 August 2015

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Things #2

I had hoped to have at least one or two posts in between these link posts, but this week turned out to be a ridiculous one at work (trust me, you don't want details), so let's just move on, shall we?

I was wondering if this was something that would ever be tried by stores like Sephora or Ulta.   Apparently they were thinking about it too!  My problem with random samples of products is that for every one I might actually want to try, there are a lot more I just don't care about.  So although I've been tempted to try one of the beauty box subscriptions, I know that I would probably only use/care/want to try one or two of the items.  However, I think this is truly brilliant for those who are maybe only not interested in one or two items.  This is where I get my hair cut and I've seen the swap baskets, so it appears to be a popular idea.  

Though I do like them on occasion, I'm not much of a soda drinker.  I probably drink too much iced tea in the summer, but I only add lemon or lime, or on rare occasions, do a half and half iced tea/lemon mix.  But I found it interesting to read that Americans are not the ones who consume the most sugary drinks.  Go figure.

This past Wednesday was the last session of my five-week class on learning to use Pilates equipment.  Sadly, I can't afford the next level class, but I do plan to continue with my mat Pilates exercises and DVDs at home.  I did gain some flexibility, and my posture definitely improved.  I'm going to try to also do some of these exercises regularly, because now that my posture is improved, I want to develop better habits to keep that.

I found this article in the New York Times fascinating.  How often does anyone ask you to really think about your life and why you make the decisions you do?  I think there are plenty of kids who start college without a specific plan (I was one of them), but who feel some pressure from families, friends, etc.  I have a co-worker who told her kids that unless they majored in one of the sciences or math, she and her husband would not contribute to their college education!  The reason: if they focus on those majors, they will be able to find jobs that pay well.  Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but I thought that was appalling.

And finally, I think that this blog post is brilliant.  Even though I am not a fan of the F word, I was able to appreciate and enjoy what this person was saying.  And frankly, I agree with a lot of what she is saying.  Plus I love the title of the blog!

And that, my dears, is it for the things I found interesting on the interwebs during the past week.  I hope you enjoyed at least one of them and/or maybe learned something.

Have wonderful weekend, and be sure to enjoy  at least one thing!

14 August 2015

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Things #1

Because I didn't have anything specific to tell you, I didn't post anything this week.  And then I started to think, what is the point of having this blog if I hardly ever post?

So I have decided I will try to post some links each week to things I read or heard about that I liked and/or found interesting, so you can check them out if you are so inclined.  I always enjoy posts on other blogs where I can find new-to-me-things, so I hope you do too.

OK, this first thing is not from this week, because this is something I read every day, and have for years.  Have you met The Fug Girls?  OMG, they are so funny, and make me laugh at least once every day - never a bad thing, right?  And during March Madness, they have their own version with bracketing and voting, and it is just way more fun than it should be.  (Plus, for me, it's pretty much the only way I find out who the people everyone else is talking about, actually are.)  They are also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, if you want to actually stalk them ... :-)

I'm pretty sure that you've heard of  Stephen Colbert, even if you never saw his previous show, "The Colbert Report."  I truly adore him, because he is smart, funny, completely ridiculous, and seems to be an overall good guy.  He wrote this article for Glamour, and it rocks.  Even Emma Watson agrees, and I also adore her.

Are you a sucker like I am for reading about beautiful people's beauty routines?  Here is what Lupita Nyongo does.  Granted, since she is a spokesperson for Lancome, most of the products are theirs, but it's still interesting to find out.

I found this article about whether or not to refrigerate tomatoes really interesting.  We don't have whole house air-conditioning, but then again, tomatoes don't last too long with us either ...

These will never qualify as healthy eating, but wow would they be a great treat!  Once we're into fall, I'm probably going to have to give this recipe a try (halved of course, which will still give us A LOT).

And finally, as you may or may not know, Pope Francis is visiting Philadelphia in late September as part of the World Meeting of Families.  Lots is going on with planning, security, and people are getting really antsy or worried about how it will all play out.  But I don't know if anyone is really prepared for this.

Hope your weekend is a good one!

09 August 2015

No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

For those of you not familiar with the title, it's from an old Monty Python skit, which is one of my favorites.

But over the past few weeks, I've thought of this phrase a lot.  I've really let my exercise routine lapse since my surgery last summer.  I would get small bouts of inspiration, and then just stop when something ... well, anything came up.  But I had gotten to the point where my clothes were becoming uncomfortable, and I was feeling more and more depressed.  I knew that exercise helped with both things, and that it was time to get going again.

I wasn't in the mood for the "regular gym" stuff, and we were having a major heat wave, so riding my bicycle was out.  Then I saw where a local Pilates studio was having a special promotion for learning to use the equipment.  It was a five-week session and the price was truly reasonable.  Figuring that I waste that much money on God knows what pretty regularly, I paid and signed myself up.

In the past, I've done some mat Pilates, and loved it though I was really bad at it.  I am less than flexible and not overly coordinated.  But the equipment classes have actually been going well.  Mostly because the equipment helps to control not just your movements, but also keeps you in the proper positioning.  I've been enjoying the classes, and it has inspired me to exercise in other ways on the other days of the week.  I'm nearly back to regular activity 3 times a week, which is my basic goal.

But the Pilates equipment?  It looks like modern versions of medieval torture equipment!  At the first class, I wondered what I'd gotten myself into.  In my case, it does keep me focused, since I don't want to mess up the equipment (when it truth, I'm pretty sure it could hurt me more than I could do anything to it!).

This Wednesday will be our 4th class, so this session is nearly over.  Part of me would like to continue to the next level, and part of me would like to try something else, and continue with my mat Pilates at home.  Sadly, none of the options are free, but there are ones that are affordable, and I do have to admit that when I am starting out on something, I'm more likely to keep up with it if I've already paid.

So stay tuned.  Will it be more Pilates equipment?   Will I try kickboxing?  Will I try bodycycling?  Only the next few weeks will tell.

Remember though, that in the meantime, NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!  :-)

01 August 2015

A Definite Success

Hello there!

Do you remember this post from early in May?  Well, I wanted to give you an update.

I bought my jar of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel on sale at CVS, for $17.99 plus tax.  (It's usually $19.99 everywhere, from what I can tell.)* According to the date I wrote on the bottom of the jar, I started using it on April 12, 2015.  Just this past week - on July 30, 2015 - I got the last possible amount out of the jar.  I used it every since day.

As you may recall, part of what I liked about it was that you needed just a small amount to adequately cover your face.  Even this past week around here when the weather was AWFUL, it blended in and felt soothing and cool.  I do feel like my skin has improved since I started using it.

So according to my BMST calculations, the product cost me .165 cents per day.  If I had paid full price (which I did to replace it earlier today), the cost would be .183 cents per day.  For as much as I like this product, and for the way it made my skin feel and look, the only way it could be better in my opinion would be if someone just gave me a jar for free!

It always makes me so happy when something I really like turns out to be well worth the price.

You should give this product a try.  I think you'll be glad you did.

Not actually me ...

*except on the Neutrogena website, where it is apparently $18.99 ... with shipping costs, though ...