October 8, 2010

The Girl Effect

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:52 pm by Gina

The Girl Effect, n.
The unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.”

The Girl Effect is about girls. And boys. And moms and dads. And villages and towns and countries.

Girls living in poverty are uniquely capable of creating a better future. But when a girl reaches adolescence, she comes to a crossroads:

The Girl Effect is amazing. It’s as simple as that. The website is amazing, the videos are amazing but most importantly, the cause is amazing.

When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 per-cent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

There’s something that everyone can do to help. You can donate, you can spread the message or you can simply learn more. Go to the website and look around, its fascinating.

Think of yourself at 12 years old, it was no time to be having babies or to be worrying about when you will get your next meal. Maybe the worlds biggest problems don’t have to be so big and overwhelming. We can invest in the future by helping one girl at a time.

With love,
~Gina

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October 6, 2010

Is Facebook Helping Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:26 pm by Gina

“About 1 in 8 women in the United States (between 12 and 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” (via)

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created to increase awareness, raise funds for research and offer information and support to those affected by breast cancer. Charities such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure contribute during this month to the research and prevention of breast cancer.

This I’m sure many of you know. What many of you may not know is why there seems to be status after status on facebook beginning with “I like it on…” and ending with a location. For example, “I like it on the kitchen counter.”

We’ll just say it for the sake of time- it seems like its referencing preferred sex locations. However, its actual purpose is to raise awareness for breast cancer through social media. Last year through chain messages etc., girls were supposed to put their statuses as the color of their bra, this year it is where you set your purse when you get home.

This is the message I received:

“Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news.

This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox.

The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER – DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW :-)”

Contrary to the seemingly positive message of Breast Cancer Awareness month is National Breast Cancer Coalition president, Fran Visco. In her article “Why I’m Not Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month” she expresses her frustrations over the event.

Visco says: “Actually, this is the 25th breast cancer awareness month. We are being asked to celebrate that fact – which is symptomatic of the problem. Why do we try so hard to make breast cancer palatable, comfortable, pink? I really don’t feel like celebrating.

We argued over whether a new drug that shrank a tumor for several weeks but didn’t make women live longer, or improve their quality of life — and had life threatening side effects — was good enough. Such low expectations. We deserve more. I don’t feel very pink about any of this. I feel angry. I am frustrated at the lack of progress.”

I find a refreshing honesty in Visco’s frustrations. Though I do believe in and have witnessed the powers of Social Media, I did not participate in the facebook game either last year or this year. I understand the point, but I think that many do not. Real, palpable efforts need to be made and recognized along with the raising of awareness.

Click on our BIAW Poll and tell me what you think!!

Is the “status game” an adequate way to raise awareness or does it take from the real point of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(polls)

~Gina

July 9, 2010

CARE’s Annual Report

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:22 pm by Gina

Hi readers!

One of my favorite organizations and a topic of many previous posts, CARE, has recently published its 2009 Annual Report. This beautiful pdf (it really is a nice layout!) tells stories of individual women, overall goals, as well as financial statements and cash flow charts.

If you click on the picture you will be able to read that 75% of the worlds women cannot get bank loans, 64% of the worlds illiterates are women, 60% of the worlds poorest people are women and 55% of the worlds children out of school are girls.

Think of the times that you are most thankful to have a strong support system. I would imagine that it involves these three important steps in any women’s life: as a student, when pregnant and raising a baby, and when working to create lives for you and your family.

In my previous post I complain about work. What about the women who walk 8 hours a day to get water for their families? The women who cannot go to school or earn a living because there is no wages to simply stay alive. It says “Everyday we ask ourselves, how can we do our work better?” Take the time to ask yourself what you can do. These women may be across the world from us, but there are many around you that can be constantly helped. Women you know who have sick family members, multiple young children or cannot find a job. What can you do? Lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand?

Love,
Gina

Check out the entire Annual Report here!

March 2, 2010

Yes! 10 Things That Will Make You Very Happy :)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:27 pm by Gina

Hi ladies!

I feel like I haven’t talked (…written) to any of you in far too long! So to start off March (a very important month for becauseiamawoman- it’s National Women’s History Month!!) I thought I’d do another list!

This list comes from Yes! Magazine’s website, an “award-winning, ad-free, nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world” and to inspire people to say Yes!
Researchers have studied people all over the world to determine how things affect our well-being and happiness. This is their list of 10 scientifically proven strategies to HAPPY!

1. Savor Everyday Moments
2. Avoid Comparisons
3. Put Money Low on the List
4. Have Meaningful Goals
5. Take Initiative at Work
6. Make Friends, Treasure Family
7. Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
8. Say Thank You Like You Mean It
9. Get Out and Exercise
10. Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

For explanations of these strategies click here, or check out the fun (and printable) pdf!

The number one thing that struck me was the obviousness of these tips. We all know these things right? We live hectic lifestyles and yet that moment that forces you to center yourself is more powerful, no matter how insignificant the moment. We know how much money and money worries can stress us, yet living beyond our means has somehow replaced “living the American Dream.” Far too often we go through our days, at work or with friends or family as if praying for the next day (I am hugely guilty of this.) We know if we lived with passion and gratitude towards our work, family and friends than smiling would come much easier. The benefits of exercise are known to all, I am sure, but my favorite strategy is number 10. This is the explanation they give for it,

“Make altruism and giving part of your life, and be purposeful about it. Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a “helper’s high,” and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking. Listening to a friend, passing on your skills, celebrating others’ successes, and forgiveness also contribute to happiness, he says. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn found that those who spend money on others reported much greater happiness than those who spend it on themselves.”

So true!! Now tell me what your favorite strategy is, or which one you struggle with the most. What event/habit/person prevents you from committing to these things everyday? I’d love to hear what you have to say and Happy Women’s History Month!!

Love,
Gina Marie

January 19, 2010

Help Haiti!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 3:21 am by Gina

Hey everyone,
I’m sure you all have heard about the terrible earthquake that just recently took place in Haiti, and the more I read about it the worse the circumstances seem to be. Authorities estimate 200,000 dead, 1.5 million homeless and the U.N. expected to feed about 97,000 people today. If you haven’t read much about the earthquake yet, there is a very informative need for the growing help in Haiti here

If you would like to help with the efforts in Haiti, click here
Thanks!
Jess

December 22, 2009

Video Series: Part IV, Half The Sky

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:50 pm by Gina

Good Afternoon Ladies and welcome to Part Four of our video series!

This is about a book that many of you may have already heard of titled “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn.

With interviews on CARE, a segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show and a panel discussion in the United Nations among others it has caused quite a sensation! Adequately named off of a Chinese phrase that women hold up “half of the sky,” this book tries to lead women out of oppression and into opportunity. As its website says “The best way to fight poverty and extremism is to educate and empower women and girls.”

This clip from Oprah delves a little deeper into the importance of Kristof’s and WuDunn’s work:

An article by the two Pulitzer Prize winning authors titled “3 Things You Can Do to Empower Women” gives great suggestions on where to start:
1) Make Girls Smarter
-through proper vitamins and care during pregnancy and early years
2) Support a Woman’s Business
– With a microloan a woman is able to start her own business, in return supporting her family with more income.
3) Keep a Girl in School
– “A girl who gets an education will have fewer children, earn more money, and be able to help her younger siblings.”
Read the rest of the article here

Just think about this, if it was your mother or your daughter- you wouldn’t let it happen.

~Gina Marie

December 19, 2009

Video Series: Part 1, Odanadi Cycle

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:16 pm by Gina

Hi all!

Everyone seemed to love the video I included in the CARE post, which is great because I loved it too! I have found a ton of informative, interesting, and awareness-bringing (yes I made that a word with a hyphen) videos celebrating and encouraging women!

This video I found on another fun blog was practically made to be seen by me! Traveling is my obsession, yoga is my hobby and volunteering is what makes me happy. Not to mention that India is on my list of dream places to visit and study. It is about 12 minutes long, but I promise it is worth it. Play it in the background while getting ready in the morning! Or with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee like I did 🙂

The only problem is, I can’t seem to figure out how to embed it in the post, but take a second to check out this beautiful video here: http://www.vimeo.com/8104963

“For 19 years Odanadi has been providing a safe haven for victims of human trafficking. They are committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of enslaved women and children.”

Bye sisters,
Gina

December 17, 2009

Because you CARE

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:23 am by Gina

Ciao Bellas!!

So, now who gets to be called the bad blog partner? Possibly me, but for the sake of not putting ANYbody down (because who wants that?) I’ma say oops and move on, on behalf of both Jess and I. Hope you guys will continue to read even with our sporadic postings!

I thought I would post something from my all time FAVORITE charitable organization- CARE. Care is an amazing organization that fights global poverty particularly by empowering women.

“We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.”

Many of you may not have Christmas gifts for all the special people in your life yet. Sometimes I struggle to pick out a gift for those people who seem to have everything. But with only 8 shopping days left, CARE offers a perfect, and perhaps for many of you, different solution to this problem.

This holiday season how about you buy a product from CARE’s eSHOP and allow a part of the proceeds go towards CARE projects. With many products starting at 10 dollars, this may just be cheaper than your previous idea. Or simply send a donation instead. CARE is currently attempting to raise $2.5 million to “help women and girls lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty- for good.”

If you already have your gifts, don’t have the money, or simply aren’t interested, I encourage you to surf through the CARE website anyway. They have many powerful images and videos that are interesting at the very least. This is one I particularly liked

peace loves,
~Gina Marie

November 26, 2009

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:56 pm by Gina

Well Hello there,

To my three friends or so who look at this blog, I am so sorry its been so long since the last post! Jess and I have been very busy finishing up our exams, packing, and heading home for our loooong winter break!! I was going to post yesterday but seeing as how I pampered myself all day I don’t see how I would have found the time. It truly was pampering, and it made me notice how “girly” my day actually was. Nearly everything I did involved something that could almost always be described with that adjective and yet I loved every minute!! I don’t give myself those kinds of days nearly enough!

First, I had a laser hair removal appointment at one. I got my bikini line and armpits done and talk about PAIN. As I was flinching and squirming on the table I wondered how many other women would get this done and consider it a “gift” to themselves. Am I crazy? I never thought I believed in the saying “beauty is pain” but I guess in this instance I did. Still, the outcomes outweighed the very brief amount of, ahem, discomfort that I experienced, aka now I’ll never have to shave again!! bossy!

Afterwards I headed straight over to Victoria Secrets to show some roommate love. It’s only been about 5 days but I missed her a ton and knew that she had to work so I thought a nice surprise would cheer her up! Plus…I needed some new underwear! In my hasty packing (trying to get the hell away from school for a bit!) I conveniently forgot all the contents of my underwear drawer. That includes socks and bras!! 😦 Excuse to get more? I think so. After visiting with her and treating myself AGAIN to something special (super cute PINK yoga pants) I headed home for just a moment before my next appointment. I was FINALLY going to get my hair cut!

My mom knows that getting my hair cut and eyebrows waxed is a major high point whenever it happens. I love my hairstylist more than anything and the 45 minutes or so that we get to catch up is so fun that I just might be embarrassed posting that, if I ever got embarrassed. That is the one time that I always feel completely pampered but don’t feel guilty about and I always leave feeling fabulous!

Afterwards my good friend called, her and her boyfriend had just recently broken up and she was having a rough day. Rather than let her sit at home and cry I invited forced her to come over for some girl talk. We watched The City, ate some chicken quesadillas, cried, bitched, and ended up dancing to all our favorite middle school tunes. Lame? maybe. Worth it? Definitely.

All I can think about after my day of 100% girl is how nice it was. I was able to take care of biznass, see two amazing girl friends and rest up for the 5 miles I had planned for the next day! It’s Thanksgiving and I just ran the Columbus Turkey Trot for the first time ever! I’m not a runner by any means and I was so nervous it was silly. And even though my hamstrings hate me and my feet are raw I could not be happier. I am about to be with my entire family, catching up, playing games, and gorging on more food than I can imagine. I have never had to go without and I am truly feeling the spirit of Thanksgiving. In this spirit I would like to raise to mind a powerful woman, Sarah Joseph Hale, who is basically the founder of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

In her letter to President Abraham Lincoln she says,

“Permit me, as Editress of the “Lady’s Book“, to request a few minutes of your precious time, while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and — as I trust– even to the President of our Republic, of some importance. This subject is to have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.”

“In addition to moving President Lincoln to action, Sarah Hale was the first to urge equal education for American girls. She was the first to start day nurseries for working women, the first to suggest public playgrounds, and the first editor of the first woman’s magazine in America.” (cited)

What a woman to be thankful for! I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! No matter how you celebrate it, count the ways you are blessed, I’m sure there are many.

peace loves,
Gina

Question: This is actually three questions, feel free to answer any or all! 🙂
What ritual are you willing to do in the name of “beauty?” Mine was more for convenience, but I think it falls into both categories. Also, how did you/would you move on after a serious relationship ends with a bad breakup? Finally, what is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? This is my first year in the Turkey Trot but I may just have to make it into a Thanksgiving tradition! 🙂

November 20, 2009

Women at the Windmill

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 10:04 pm by Gina

Good Afternoon gals!!

Just found this amazing story via another favorite blog of mine- it was so interesting I just had to post it today!

An unexpected hero, Trevor Field, is on a mission to bring clean, safe drinking water to rural Africans. His inspiration came mainly from, you guessed it…women!

Takepart says,

“A defining moment in Trevor Field’s mission to provide clean water to people in Africa came when he stumbled across a simple scene: a group of women standing around a windmill-driven pump, waiting for the wind to blow so they could get water. “I just thought, ‘No, this is a pathetic situation to be in,’” said Field, who lives in South Africa. “And ever since then I’ve sort of had a mission in my head to try and help rural people to get clean drinking water.”

Q: What inspired you to get involved–was it seeing those women at that windmill?

A: Yeah, that was the start to get me going, but then there’s a whole load of other stuff that I’ve sort of stumbled on along the way. For instance, women and young girls do have a disproportionate disadvantage from an education point of view, especially young girls. They have to get water before they go to school, so they miss out on their education, because they’re always late. Young girls entering into puberty–they don’t go to school if they haven’t got any water there, they got no facilities to wash their hands, they got no decent toilet systems, so a lot of [them are out] for a week every month whilst they’re menstruating. That’s pathetic, you know, and we can change that.

And a great Frontline article adds,

“The amount of time these women are burning up collecting water, they could be at home looking after their kids, teaching their kids, being loving mothers,” Field tells Costello. He knew there had to be a better solution.”

His better solution is truly unique!

“Field then teamed up with an inventor and came up with the “play pump” — a children’s merry-go-round that pumps clean, safe drinking water from a deep borehole every time the children start to spin. Soup to nuts, the whole operation takes a few hours to install and costs around $7,000. Field’s idea proved so inventive, so cost-efficient and so much fun for the kids that World Bank recognized it as one of the best new grassroots ideas.” (via)

It’s genius!! Check out this video for even more explanation of how his invention particularly benefits women, even changing the gender roles of the communities.

A charitable, creative invention that benefits children, women and creates clean water for the entire community- thats something everyone can love!

xoxo