Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Today kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You'll be seeing lots of pink in the next few weeks: on t-shirts, on food products, even on the hands and heads of NFL players.

Most of us know someone who has battled breast cancer. Unfortunately, many of us know those who have lost. But more and more people are winning, which should give all of us hope that not as many of our children or grandchildren will have to face this disease or other forms of cancer.

But while we can't control some risk factors for the disease (such as our genes), according to leading medical information providers such as the Mayo Clinic, there are things we can control that might help reduce our risk and help us to improve our overall health. Get your kids started young on maintaining a healthier lifestyle by adhering to the following tips:

Exercise - That's right! Good for the body, mind and spirit. Even a 30-minute walk a day can provide significant benefits.

Maintain a Healthy Weight - Studies have shown a link between obesity and breast cancer. Find the right weight for your height and try to get closer to it. Check out this free height/weight calculator.

Limit Alcohol - Of course, kids never should drink. But to reduce your cancer risk, adults should limit consumption to no more than one drink a day or avoid drinking altogether

Don't Smoke - Good advice for everyone and for reasons in addition to preventing cancer. If you need help quitting, check out the resources available at

Reduce Fat in Your Diet - Some studies suggest there may be a link between breast cancer and diets that are higher in fat. However, diets low in fat do help reduce the risk of other problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Self-Screening - Get in the habit of doing a self breast exam once a month. Inform your daughters of the benefits of early detection to get them in the habit doing self-exams.

For more info on breast cancer, check out the following links: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.

Check it out: The Women's Museum

Here's a cool place I just learned about and added to my must-visit-someday list: The Women's Museum, located in Dallas, TX, the nation's only comprehensive women's history museum dedicated to exploring the contributions women have made throughout American history. Their mission is to "bring to life the voices, talents, achievements, aspirations and stories of the past, present and future." They've been open for nearly 10 years. What a great place to take your daughter, granddaughter, goddaughter or niece! If only Dallas were closer to my hometown Chicago!

The museum features both special exhibits, traveling exhibits and permanent exhibits with titles such as "Breaking Boundaries," an exhibit that "honors the women who would stop at nothing to accomplish their goals, and whose valiant efforts made possible the vast choices we now enjoy." Hurray for that! To learn more, visit their site or follow them on Twitter!

In learning about the museum in Dallas, I also learned that there's a movement to secure a permanent space in our nation's capital for another women's history museum. The National Women's History Museum is urging people to contact their representatives to encourage them to pass the National Women's History Museum Act, to give it a home next to the National Mall. They particularly need help from constituents living in California and Alaska. You can learn more about this here. Hopefully, someday there will be yet another place to take our daughters!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will We Ever Get There?

I'm a part-time stay-at-home mom, part-time working mom. In addition to working on starting G is 4 Girl, I have a day job (one that pays the bills) at my family's business, a printing company.

I've been there for over 10 years and now know the business inside and out. While there are more and more female printing business owners and leaders in our industry, I think it's fair to say it's still male-dominated. Some of the men I encounter in day-to-day operations still harbor some odd ideas of how to treat and respond to women in the workplace.

Example: while acting as the head of our company, I encountered a vendor who came through our front door and well, I guess took a liking to me, in a sense. He proceeded to make comments to me that he never would make to a male. He started off with the whole "hey, sweetie," attitude, which is one thing, but the next incident was entirely another: He was there to pick up one of our machines to return it to our leasing facility. When I said he might have trouble getting through a narrow corridor, he mentioned he's never had a problem with narrow spaces because he's well-endowed (he used more colorful language than that, but I'll spare you the details).

He said this as he was exiting our facility, and I was so shocked, I just stood there wondering what on earth had just happened.

Most males I encounter in business are not like this. Most treat women as equals and with respect. Though incidents like these still do happen. And inequalities still exist. Most of the people placing orders with us are executive assistants and 95% of them are women. Most of the business cards we print with titles such as "CEO," "President," or "Vice-Anything," have male names above them.

Yes, we have come a long way. I thank my mother, her generation, and the generations of women who came before us for paving the way and expanding our rights to be equal to that of men. But we still have a ways to go. I hope that in 20 years when my daughter enters the workforce, tales such as these will be nothing more than outdated memories of the way things used to be.

That's one reason I started G is 4 Girl. Girls may encounter situations that make them feel inferior. We need to instill in them a belief and confidence to know that derogatory statements made to them are garbage. That they really can do amazing things and that their achievements can equal those of any male. I believe it. Hopefully all girls believe it too. And maybe, someday, no one else on this planet will take further convincing.

For more ways to inspire girls, check out this awesome organization started to help inspire girls to be strong, Girls Inc.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Even the little things to help the earth count -- we hope!

I just recently can say that I've "Gone Green." And I'm 35 years old.

Kind of embarrassing, I know. But before I moved to a recycling-friendly community, I didn't really consider doing it. It seemed to difficult, and I didn't have the time. Always an excuse.

Now I recycle as much as I can. Even drive to a facility to drop off my plastic bags that our curbside recycler doesn't take. We no longer buy plastic bottles, but use reusable ones from the Gis4Girl store (find cool SIGG ones here). We use reusable grocery bags. We bought a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Hopefully my carbon footprint is smaller now. I'd like to think it makes a difference, even a microscopic one.

Environmentalists such as Fabien Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, say it will help. And he says we should be worried.

The garbage we create can eventually come back to haunt us. Take for example the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (you can read more about it here, as featured on Oprah this past Earth Day). It's basically a floating garbage dump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that covers an area twice the size of Texas. It contains over 100,000,000 tons of debris, most of it plastic. Only 20% of it seems to be dumped from ships; the rest comes from land, including the U.S. The problem is it's killing millions of animals, which in itself is a tragedy. Where it will hit home, is when the loss of these animals directly effects the world's food supply.

So do what you can for your future and your kids future. And get your kids involved and educated about their part in helping the environment by checking out the EPA's kids site and an organization called Kids for Saving Earth.

For a laugh, see how Paul Rudd and his furry friends help the earth stay clean!

'Til next time,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Breastfeeding at the Zoo: Lions & Tigers & Boobs = Oh My?!?

My family and I went to the Brookfield Zoo yesterday along with hundreds of other families who had the same idea to hang with the animals on a beautiful Chicagoland day. Our time there was wonderful, despite my getting riled up at a woman who apparently feels public breastfeeding is disgusting.

You see, on our walk around the park, we noticed a woman off to the side, sitting on a bench, nursing her baby. She was covered in a breastfeeding "cape," the same kind I used when I nursed my daughter in public. Zero skin was exposed. You couldn't even see the baby, except for his tiny feet dangling from beneath the fabric. As we walked past the mother, a woman in a group next to us declared, "That is disgusting! With all of these people around, look at her breastfeeding in public! Doesn't she know there's a place for her to go and do that in private!"


I'm kind of a shy person generally, until my buttons are pushed, and this time, consider them pushed to the point of no return.

I stayed relatively calm and said, "Breastfeeding is not disgusting! She has a right to sit there and do that just as anyone else does."

The woman didn't respond, but just walked away. I am assuming she also bypassed the gorilla house too, since -- heaven forbid -- she see an ape nursing her young, like we did on a prior zoo visit.

Any child passing by the nursing mother would have no clue that a baby was being breastfed beneath, unless perhaps his or her own mother used a similar cape with a younger sibling. Let's just say the mother was being extremely discreet. No boobage was being exposed. Nary a nipple was being revealed to passersby. What this disapproving woman disliked was THE IDEA that a boob lay beneath the garment doing its God-given job. (BTW, her husband who accompanied her didn't seem to have an opinion on the subject; in fact, no one in her group seconded her declaration).

And this "place" she referred to for nursing a child in private? A "nursing station" located in the women's bathroom. Let me first say that I commend the Brookfield Zoo for conceiving such a place at all. That's the first time I have ever seen a place specifically made for mothers to go nurse their babies other than a nursing station at a hospital where I once visited someone with my infant daughter in tow.

However, the nursing station at the zoo was a doorless nook located at the back of the very stuffy, hot, and rather smelly women's bathroom. It included a bench and a sink, but not much fresh air, and honestly -- I myself wouldn't want to eat a meal in there. In fact, when I finished my business, I escaped ASAP. The doors were propped open to alleviate some of the stuffiness on an 80-degree day, so others at the zoo must have agreed that the place was hot and stinky.

In addition, when I nursed my daughter, I spent so much time indoors nursing her, that when we went on a picnic, to a festival or the zoo, I was so thrilled to be outdoors, I didn't want to go inside and find a "nursing station!" My daughter at times nursed for up to an hour. There's no way I would or should spend a beautiful day cooped up in a john for an hour to feed my child. No one should have to. And thank heavens that--at least in Illinois--legally, no one has to.

For more information on Breastfeeding Rights and laws in your area, check out this article on

'Til next time,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boogie Wipes Rule!

If you could look up the definition of "runny nose" in the dictionary, you'd probably find a picture of every child on the planet. You'd also probably find some cranky ones, irratable with sore, red noses irritated from too much tissue use.

That's why I'd like to recommend Boogie Wipes! First let me state that I have no association with the company that makes Boogie Wipes, nor have I ever received free samples of their products to review. Their product literally hit me in the face at the grocery store at the same time my daughter was experiencing a bad cold. She refused tissues, even the aloe-filled ones, because they began to hurt when used.

Boogie Wipes contain saline and are made specifically for tender little noses. When we used them, my daughter said, "My nose doesn't hurt anymore!"

Even better, the company was founded by two "Mompreneurs" who saw a need for a product such as this.

Go to the Boogie Wipes website to learn more and get a $1 Off Coupon!