Wednesday, December 22

This is not a sponsored post! I swear!

I like earning money.
I also like giving away money.

Oh the conflict!
Which is why I'm (thus far) a big fan of Op4G.

Op4G is basically a market research company with an altruistic bent.
You take their consumer surveys, and they pay you.
What's interesting though, is that they "force" you to give at least 25% of your earnings to one of their non-profit partners.
I mean force in the best possible way of course. Perhaps "allow you to be generous automatically" would be a nicer way to say that. 

Now, full disclosure time: the non-profit where I currently work is one of the partners.
So the money is going to support a place with which I do have a direct connection.
But I work in anti-sexual violence advocacy, so I'm pretty confident that it's OK to shamelessly plug on behalf of my job.

So far I'm impressed. I've filled out 4 surveys, made some money for me and made some money for the Alliance.
Best of both worlds! Woo!

The take away?
Go check out Op4G.
Sign up.
Take some surveys.
Get some money and..
Perhaps donate to the Alliance (pretty please)?

Monday, December 20

Super Bibi!

It has come to my attention that I occasionally bring casual conversations around to topics such as sexual assault, teen pregnancy, and reproductive health.

Given I deal with anti-sexual violence advocacy in my day job, teen pregnancy prevention in my freelance work, and reproductive health in my board position I wasn't exactly shocked by this revelation.

It did remind me,  however, that I spend a lot of my time dealing with (important) but rather heavy issues.

So, I've decided to post this picture of....


Because everyone needs a little levity in their life! And a tiny cat wearing a cape is pretty darn cute & funny.

Friday, December 17

Best gifts for job seekers?

Originally I was just going to post a link to an article on about the "Best Gifts for Job Seekers" and make generally nice comments about the idea.

Because really, who doesn't like getting gifts? And if you're searching for a job and feeling unusually stressed/confused/cash-strapped then a thoughtful gift might mean the difference between a total meltdown and a successful interview.

And I am going to still make some generally nice comments about the list, and then offer some comments.

So, I thought it was great that the author thought to include both practical interview and self-care related gift ideas.

After weeks of stressful job hunting, I'm sure a massage would be great.
(I'm also sure a massage would be great at almost anytime, but that's neither here nor there.)
Interview outfit-great idea.
Resume writing service- unique and perhaps helpful.

Overall, I think it's a nice list.
But I do wonder whether it's actually a list of great gifts for job seekers.

It's a list, and I'm sure job seekers would enjoy all the things mentioned (except for a fancy leather portfolio and/or I'm sure 99% of people would prefer you gave them $150 instead of a nice pen), but are the things on the list actually likely to help you get an interview or succeed in getting a job?
Not so sure.

Personal connections are often key, and I'm not sure that a snazzy new pantsuit will get you a job offer when you're competing against someone with insider help/knowledge/support.
Ditto for a new hairdo, or even a massage.
All of those things sound great, but are they really helping with the job hunt?

So my list of "best gifts for job seekers" would have a few additions:
1. Share your personal knowledge/leverage your personal connections. Instead of buying something for the job seeker in your life, help them in a less tangible but perhaps more worthwhile way. Offer to introduce them to people you know, help them set up informational interviews etc. This to me seems like the best gift you can give (extra points if you thrown in $200).

2.  Finance their trip to an upcoming conference or networking event. Conferences are EXPENSIVE, but they are a great place to meet people in the field and make connections. Why would you pay for a fancy career counselor, when the job seeker might be well aware of what they want to do/where they want to do it, but they know they need to make that personal connection first (see #1).

3. Ask them what they need, not what they want. I want on any given day to eat fancy food, and enjoy some serious pampering. When I'm looking for a job, what I need is support, support, and more support. Money is support, some of the self-care items listed in the original article are support, as are items #1 and 2 listed above.

Thursday, December 16

False Reporting in the Media (Again): Why it’s such a problem

(I'm reposting this from the Alliance blog. I spent ALL morning finding these stats, and wanted to share a little more widely).

This morning I was saddened to see 10 Google alerts and a lead article on regarding the arrest of a New York City-based TV weatherwoman. An occasional contributor on Good Morning American, Heidi Jones, was recently suspended from her job after being charged by city police with filing a false attempted rape report.
The headlines ranged from: “TV Weatherwoman Charged with Lying About Attempted Rape” (, to “Cops: NYC Meteorologist Lied About Rape” (Fox News) but the stories themselves all told the same story:
“Jones claimed a man attacked her while she was jogging on Sept. 24 and dragged her into a wooded area, only to flee when tourists approached. The same man approached her in the park two months later, Jones told police.  Police soon began to doubt her story, and Jones later admitted she made it up because she was having problems in her relationship and thought it would gain her sympathy.” (
As you can imagine, the response from online commentators and journalist has run the gamut from outrage to barely-concealed excitement.

Because really, what’s more new-worthy and ‘sexy’ than a very public false report rape story?
The problem with all of the attention and excitement is that it detracts from a very real and dangerous issue: the propagation of the myth that women frequently file false rape reports.

In fact, according to various law enforcement databases and research studies I only 2% of rape reports are later found to be false. Other studies have found false report rates of up to 5.6%–but the range of 2-6% corresponds to false report rates for other major crimes such as burglary.
Another important point brought up by a doctoral candidate and researcher at American University is that:
“A primary myth about false rape reports focuses on the belief that women “cry rape” because they are seeking revenge on men who have wronged them in some way. However, according to [studies], the reality is that the vast majority of false allegations “are actually filed by people with serious psychological and emotional problems.” And notably, people who falsely file claims usually do not name specific individuals, but instead “involve only a vaguely described stranger.” These research findings support the theory that people who falsely allege rape do so not out of  desire for revenge against a specific person, but because they seek general attention and sympathy.”
Sounds pretty familiar, right?

Ms. Jones admitted that she made up the assault because she was “having problems in her relationship and was seeking sympathy.” So really what we have here is a individual woman who is likely suffering from psychological and emotional problems.

One woman does not an epidemic of false reports make.

Yet the media attention to this case is likely to be prolonged and unsympathetic. And according to research, this type of unwarranted attention on false rape reports can be very damaging.
“Print media portrayals of rape that are not representative in the aggregate of the circumstances in which rape typically occurs may do little more than reinforce stereotypical notions of what constitutes “real rape.” The types of rape reported in the media tend to be those that have features that are in keeping with the classic stereotype of rape. Media stories may also be presented in such a way as to suggest that the victim precipitated the attack or is making a false allegation.
The same researchers also concluded that the reliance on rape stereotypes and rape myths in media coverage can ultimately have a chilling effect on report rates, prosecution, and conviction rates. They caution that:
“Stereotypical notions of rape have been found to negatively impact rape prosecution. The negative portrayal of both male and female rape victims in the press may have an adverse impact on whether such crimes are subsequently reported to the police. [Ultimately] newspaper articles that frame rape victims’ behaviour in a negative manner may reinforce rape myths and fuel public misconceptions of sex crimes, which in turn may have a negative consequences for a victim’s self-conceptions of his or her experience and the criminal justice’s response to sex crimes.”
While it’s obviously very upsetting to learn that Ms. Jones likely fabricated and then falsely reported an attack, I think it’s clear that the media attention is damaging to both victims and the general public. I think it’s a shame that we expect so little from the media; instead of framing this story in a way that addresses rape myths and the rarity  of false reports, this rather salacious approach is likely doing real harm.

Sunday, December 12

Degree= Internship?

Well thanks CNN. Your incredibly depressing article "Is an Internship the New Entry Level Job" about the plight of 20-somethings in the job market actually makes me feel better about my current work situation!

I don't think that was the point of this article, but hey I'll take it!

Really though, it's pretty dismal.

According to the report,

Full-time employment has dropped 9 percentage points among 18-to-29-year-olds since 2006, leaving only 41 percent of millennials with full-time jobs, according to "Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next," a report released by Pew Research Center in February.
In addition to feeling really aggravated anytime someone uses the term Millennial (which I find a particularly stupid sounding name), I also feel pretty sad that so many people are spending a lot of time and money for an undergraduate degree that leaves them internship! 

I also have to wonder if calling internship the new entry level makes sense.

Do employers really consider an internship a type of entry level position?

I'm really not so sure they do, especially after being told in a meeting recently that the title of "intern" is a resume killer. Is that true across the board, who knows? Might it be true in some fields or for some hiring managers, probably?

So really, is an internship the way to go?
Or is it better to volunteer in the field in which you want to be employed and take a day job to pay the bills?

Saturday, December 11

Fall round up from NYC, STL & beyond!

Well, I've failed as a blogger for most of the fall.

In my defense, I received a "day"motion at my job (I made this word up, and despite some confusion from friends and family, it is indeed a good thing), and have been trying extra hard to network, network, network while really enjoying all the city has to offer.

We've hosted out of town guests, traveled to STL for thanksgiving food/fun, and are now planning a trip to my hometown for my little brother's 21st birthday.

Throw in some major wedding planning (dress, venue, caterer, list, photographer, and bakery= DONE!) and I guess blogging just kind of fell by the wayside.

But things are settling down a bit, so I guess I'm back? Or back-ish?

Sunday, October 31

What I'm reading this weekend...

All about "pregnancy centers." 
Check out the NYTimes article here.

I bet you can guess how I feel about the proposed legislation mentioned in this article!

Saturday, October 30

Italy in October!!

We're so lucky that Ben has almost-family in Italy.
It gives us a great excuse to vacation there as often as possible, and we can usually stay for free right outside of Venice!

This time we were lucky enough to stay in a cute B&B for Padova (Padua) for 4 days, and head into Venice and some of the countryside for day trips.

Then off to Florence for 3 days, where we stayed in an awesome hotel and also took the time to travel to some of the smaller cities (Sienna, San Gimignano) nearby.

Add in one day in Milan, and you have a pretty awesome trip.
The only downside?
Coming back and being unable to fit in to all of your clothing comfortably due to massive amounts of pasta, cheese, wine..,and more pasta.

Pictures to come tomorrow!

Friday, October 29

Escape from NYC 2010

In my defense, my 3 measly postings from this month make a lot more sense when you consider that this month I spent:
 *9 days in Italy
 *4 days hosting a fabulous house guest & co-hosting a party in my apt.
 *3 days traveling to/from & participating in the fall NLNI conference

That's 16 days total of craziness in just one month.
Plus of course the days spent getting ready for the trips and recovering from jet-lag etc.
Oh, and my family visited over one of those weekends, and I took little S to see Wicked!
So really, it's been an exceptionally busy month.

Next up, deciding if I want to participate in this year's Nanowrimo (don't know what that is? check it out online here), figuring out a little more job stuff, and spending T-giving in STL with B's family.

Oh, and I think we still need to send out a few save the dates.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it all!

Monday, October 4

One vote and the course of history?

I've been watching The Tudors - The Complete Second Season on Netflix (I swear this is not a sponsored post!). I have to sneak episodes since B is not a fan.

He was the one who originally suggested the series as our next show (after we finished The Wire: The Complete Series)...until he remembered 1/2 an episode in that he doesn't like British accents or period dramas. I, however, think British accents are adorable and love period drama. So when he's stuck at work or away on business I break out the Netflix and plug away at the series.

Anyway, I've just begun season 2 and Henry the 8th is trying to break with Rome. Most people know the story, so I won't rehash.

The part that really floored me though, was the fact that during the course of an afternoon they voted on the issue and it was basically done.
I realize that's an oversimplification, and the show is not exactly historically accurate...but I was still pretty astounded by the idea that history was shaped in part by a simple vote.

Can you imagine anything happening now after a single vote?
Or rather, can you imagine anything making it past the bureaucracy that is often characteristic of our government in a timely manner so that a vote could even happen?

Pretty crazy!

Friday, October 1

The least helpful job advice I've ever seen:

Don't cry, and other interviewing tips

Thanks CNN!
I'll be sure to keep that in mind.


Lemur vs. Lemming: AKA the Best Work Conversation Ever


I had a real post ready. Or rather, I was going to write a real post. A serious one! And then I had this conversation with a co-worker (during personal time of course) and felt the need to share.

SS: I sometimes think twitter is a fad
SS: I do it--but only because i'm a lemur.
SS: or crap, lemming. I mean lemming

L: hahahah!!!!
L: a lemur! I love it

SS: my face is red
SS: thank goodness for online chatting
SS: you can't see!

L: hahah it's such a cute image in my head, of lemurs flocking to a cliff

SS: urg
SS: I was close
SS: they sound so similar

L: and to be honest i dont even totally know what a lemming is

SS: whhhat? no way!

L: I sort of always pictured something penguiny but not a bird

SS: I thought they looked more cat-like
SS: clearly no one has any idea what a lemming really is!
SS: they're rodents..ew
SS: I think we should change the phrase. lemurs are much cuter

L: lemurs probably have some senseless pack behavior we could comment on

SS: we should find out
SS: and then totally coin a new phrase

L: "The presence of female social dominance sets lemurs apart from most other primates and mammals; Female aggression is often associated with, but not limited to, feeding"
L: I think there's useful material in there

SS: Hmm.. feeding frenzy and female aggression. That does indeed seem like a good breeding ground for a new phrase
SS: And perhaps even semi-relevant to anti-violence work!
SS: Score!

L: there was something else about how scientists hypothesize that the lady lemurs get aggressive because they have more at stake than the men, what with the need to reproduce

SS: ugh. lets leave that one out of the pile

L: haha

SS: last thing we need to do is create another phrase that makes women sound like baby-crazed man eaters

Funny job find of the day..

Found at the bottom of a job announcement:

Spanish preferred. 

I think they meant "Spanish speaker" preferred.
At least, I hope that's what they meant.
Isn't there a law against that otherwise?!

Friday, September 24

Is nothing safe?? Deception at the farmers market?


Well this is just depressing.

I guess even the farmers market isn't safe anymore.
It makes sense, although it makes me sad.

It's now so 'in' to buy local that farmers markets must be growing and becoming more profitable.
So of course, there are people who are trying to make some money by lying to customers.

Check out the NYTimes article here.

Pesticides in "organic" fruits and veggies and produce from Mexico being packaged as locally grown.


Wednesday, September 22

A little re-post on behalf of Faith Aloud..

 Sometimes I feel silly posting about home-made hamburgers one day, and great non-profit work the next..but that's pretty much where my interests lie and how my brain works!

So today I bring you a link to a recent blog post written by Krista Taves. Krista is currently the board president of Faith organization that is very near and dear to my heart. I had my first "real" job at Faith Aloud after I finished college, and my 18 or so months at the organization helped me really define my academic, personal and career interests. I learned so much about non-profit management, the importance of faith in reproductive justice work, and why it's important to stay passionate about the issues that should matter most.

I'm currently serving on the national board of Faith Aloud and am really excited to be passing along Krista's thoughts. Although I come from a very different faith perspective, I loved reading her post.
So go check it out here.
Learn more about Faith Aloud and about the people who are working to further the cause!

Saturday, September 18

On behalf of Ben's arteries: I'm on a hamburger strike!

Lately Ben has been realllllllly into hamburgers.

Not that he hasn't always been a fan, but the last few months have been especially hamburger filled!

First he read an article about the best $5 burgers in NYC and dragged me all around to try them all out. I think I made it to 3/5 places--one of which was in Queens!

Yes, we traveled around 45 minutes to try an under $5 hamburger! It was tasty, but that's a long way to go for a sandwich.

After finishing off the $5 list, he started finding other lists of the "best" hamburgers in New York.
So far not a one has trumped his favorite (Zaitzeff).

To be perfectly honest, most of them taste the same to me. I did notice that the bun was too thick at one restaurant, and that I liked the sweet potato french fries more at another..but otherwise?
Eh. A hamburger is just still a hamburger to me!

After traipsing all over the city and paying other people to make him hamburgers that never lived up to his favorite, I decided it might be fun to have make-your-own gourmet burger night!

So a few weeks ago, we made these little beauties:

(Ingredients include: chopped onion, parsely, garlic power, and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds were KEY!)

The burgers were a little too round and the buns could have been better, but overall it was a pretty successful experiment! I would show you pictures of the finished product, but the only semi-decent photo I could get occurred after Ben had already taken a big bite. Not sure anyone wants to see partially eaten hamburger!

We watched Hubert Keller's video a few times for cooking tips and then went to town searing and then devouring our creations.

I think I'll upgrade our bun choices next time and spend a little more time learning the art of a flat hamburger, but perhaps the strike will only extend to restaurant made food!

Friday, September 17

Merging my work life & life work

A few weeks ago a friend at work helped me re-vamp my cover letter and resume (thanks K!).

Although I really like all of my current jobs, it's still my hope to eventually move into something a little more structured.

Working for 3 different non-profits in some type of part-time or freelance capacity is really interesting, but I (think) at some point I'll be ready to rejoin the daily grind! Not that working from home several days a week isn't really fun..but I think I just might be a little too type A to enjoy the flexibility.

Pretty sad, right?
I have a flexible work schedule and can do much of my work in my PJs and I really just want to be an in office!

Anyway, although I've clearly had a bit of success finding these small projects that I can string together I've had far less success with full-time offers. Or I suppose I could have been offered them and declined..perhaps that should be my blog 'party line' from now on!

I decided that despite several edits and help from others, it was time to really overhaul the documents that are supposed to represent me to potential employers. Work friend K is just a few years older, but has had really phenomenal success transitioning into new positions both here in NY and back in her hometown. I casually broached the topic, and she was kind enough to offer to help!

One thing that really struck me in the new cover letter she helped me conceptualize and write, was the idea of merging my work life with my life work (hence the title of the post). I made a conscious decision a few months ago to only pursue jobs that I find genuinely interesting.

I know that I am in an incredibly lucky position thanks to (a little) my part-time work and (a lot) to  Ben's support, because this type of 'choosiness' is an incredible luxury. But K's thoughts about expressing this in my cover letter were right on point--I've been (slightly desperately at times) looking to find a position that meets these needs.  Despite the low pay associated with both non-profit and gov't public health work, I'm really committed to doing work that represents my own passions and social justice interests.

Now I just need someone to pay me to hang out in the office all day..
And by hang out I clearly mean "work very hard" because hey..I am pretty type A!

Thursday, September 16

A little NYC love a.ka. the day I saw the Batmobile!

Sometimes this city can be really overwhelming..even for those of us who have eschewed living on the island!

But sometimes it's just a darn fun and/or funny place to live.

Good example?
This past week, my entire office heard that they were filming the new Batman movie right outside. A bunch of adult women, who spend their day working to end sexual violence all got really excited and giggly and ran downstairs en-mass to see the BATMOBILE!

 That's right, we all ran outside to take pictures of a car from a superhero movie franchise.
Which is pretty funny, especially since it seems like they're filming something around us every 10 seconds. Usually it's fun to look for a second and then move on, but for some reason we all really wanted to hang out and see the batmobile in action!

Oh New York.

ps. We later learned that it was indeed the Batmobile..but they were NOT filming Batman. Apparently it's a remake of Arthur, and as part of the movie plot the guy rents the actual car used and then crashes it. I guess that's why the front was all crumpled and it was sitting on a tow truck!

Monday, September 13

1 year pre-wedding anniversary celebration

B and I decided to spend Sept 4 (our wedding date NEXT year!) celebrating our future anniversary date. We spent the day calling it the P.W. celebration, but when we told some other people the story they told it should be called our "reversesary" so we are henceforth calling it by that name.

Anyway, we thought it might be fun to check out the new Italian-style market/restaurant/food hall: Eataly.

Despite the super punny name, it's a neat concept: it's like a market, travel agency, food hall, and Italian culture center all rolled into one.

We didn't realize that were were going just a few days after it opened, and on a day when Mario Batali (one of the Eataly creators) would be showing up to shmooze and take pictures. So we had to wait in line just go get in to the actual complex!

We wandered around for a bit despite the massive crowds, and then started to eat our way through the food stalls! We didn't end up sitting down at any of the 7 or 8 (?) restaurants scattered throughout the building, but we did try plenty of other things--including some delicious cheese and a lovely glass of prosecco!

I think B's favorite might have been the pear and vanilla gelato, although I don't know if he was more or less to excited to try it after Chef Batali hopped behind the counter to grab himself a few scoops. Although the people around us were certainly excited!

Not too bad for a bit of Italy in NY! Although, we'll have the chance to compare the real thing as we head of to visit B's Italian "mom" in a few weeks!

Wednesday, September 8

Oh, yeah..I also went to Mexico this summer!

I've been so remiss in my blogging this summer that it somehow never came up that I spent a week in Mexico with some of my friends!

I won't bore you with too many details, so here's the quick overview:

1. Mexico was awesome! We stayed in a super swanky resort courtesy of a friend's family and spent a ton of time sitting around in the sun reading. Reading + beach walks= awesome!

2. A few of us toured Chichen Itza.

It was really interesting, but I with they had let us climb up or in some of the monuments. Apparently they used to let you climb the ruins, but people used to deface or chip away pieces of stone and now it is off limits. We were all really disappointed, but it was still a great morning!  We also got to swim in a sink hole a few miles away which was a tiny bit scary, but also very cool.

3.  They let me drive a speedboat! Into open-ish ocean! It was mildly terrifying, but very fun. Then we got to snorkel. That was also kind of scary given my love of animal attack/disaster movies, but I made it through with only a few squeaks of terror.

4. The seafood. Enough said. Or not.. SO DELICIOUS.

Monday, September 6

Cooking club: fried green tomatoes

Despite being a big fan of the movie, I've never tried to make fried green tomatoes.

Thank goodness for Wednesday night cooking club!

I don't know if I would have done this on my own, but with some adventurous food buddies by my side, it was pretty darn easy. Mostly because I got to: slice tomatoes, stir polenta, and then eat. Pretty good deal!

Ended up with fried green tomatoes, cheesy polenta, green beans, and delicious little fried green tomatoes.

We started out with these:

And ended up with these:

I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the finished plate, because it was pretty cute.
But it all tasted great, and that's all that matters!

Saturday, September 4

Wedding update: The S & B extravaganza is slowly taking shape!

Despite being really ill this past week (thanks ER for the misdiagnosis and medication that made me sicker!) I'm still in the midst of wedding planning.

So far we have:
1. Wedding colors
2. A venue in PA
3. A few possible caterers
4. A verrrry long list of people we would like to invite

and that's it!

I've also been to one bridal store with friends, one friend who makes dresses, and one custom-made dress store.

Still need to figure out the food, the photography and pretty much every other detail..but at least we have a bit of a plan!

Oh, and a secret wedding website.
We also have that.

Friday, September 3

The no-sugar diet recap

Well, not sure that the no sugar diet I tried worked very well.

But that might have something to do with the fact that I'm a big idiot.
It's especially shameful as I'm the recipient of a science degree.
You'd think I would be able to craft an experiment that would actually work!

So I went off sugar for a few weeks.
My doctor said it might help my psoriasis clear up partially/fully and I thought it was worth a shot.
I use some pretty heavy duty topical medications and I would love to stop using some or all of them at some point.

Anyway, I tried to cut out all refined sugar.
I did see some improvement in my psoriasis.
I was feeling both mildly pleased by the success and really grumpy from the sugar withdrawal when I realized that I never stopped using my medication.
In fact, I was probably extra vigilant because I was thinking about it more.

So not a very good experiment!
There's no way to know if the extra vigilance helped clear things up, or if it was the lack of refined sugar.

Perhaps I'll try it again in a few weeks for real!

Thursday, September 2

And I'm back..on the sugar, on the job hunt (ish), and on blogger!

Well then. Seems like I took yet another semi-accidental hiatus from blogging.

Turns out this summer was not quite as relaxed as planned.

I thought I would enjoy my part-time jobs, figure out the full-time situation and bounce around the city a bit having fun.

Well, my main full-time job went into crisis mode due to a change in funding.
After 10 years the city council decided on (what seems like) a whim, to reduce the organization's funding from $295,000 a year to $5000.

Cue all hopes and dreams of transitioning into full-time totally imploding.
Or is it exploding?

Either way, I was sad, the organization went into panic mode and I spent a lot of time making semi-panicked calls trying to raise money.

It's been both frustrating and exciting; frustrating to learn how little our city officials know about the organizations that serve city residents and exciting as we kind of chart a new path forward as a group.

Anyway, it made for a lot less free time and fun than I was expecting!

More life, wedding, job etc. updates to come!

Monday, July 12

Sugar Free?

When most people move to a new city, they find a hair stylist, a doctor and maybe a dentist in that order.

I start with the dermatologist (thanks psoriasis)!

Well, thanks to my dermatologist I spent 2+ weeks trying to eliminate all refined sugar from my diet.

Apparently some people think that since psoriasis is auto-immune, diet can have a huge impact on the symptoms. In my case, I do think that it gets worse when I overindulge in certain food/drink items.

In general, I’ve also been a little concerned about the long-term impact of slathering on a variety of pretty strong topical creams.

So I decided to try going sugar free for a few weeks.

It was a very grumpy 2 and half weeks, that culminated in my eating a large piece of (delicious) wedding cake and drinking some champagne.

At first I thought that there was some change.

Then I realized that I was still using the mildest topical cream.

For someone with a science-ish degree, I clearly did not take a very scientific approach to this little experiment.

So basically, I avoided all sorts of foods..grumbled, made B nuts..and then had NO way to determine if the diet did anything useful for my psoriasis.

Perhaps I’ll try again and also go cold-turkey from the meds..but for now, I’m back on the good stuff.

Kind of.

One thing I did realize is that there is refined sugar in EVERYTHING.

It’s actually scary.

Even pita chips have refined sugar. WHY do pita chips need sugar?

The answer is, they don’t!

So although I’m going to start eating some sweet things again when I need a treat, I am going to try and avoid refined sugar in every day items. It’s OK if I eat sugar when I eat a piece of cake. Cake should have sugar.

But pita chips? Bread? Jam? Why do these things need refined sugar, and often lots of it?

No more no-sugar, but definitely less.

Friday, July 9

DM Throwback post: 12 Days of Terror

Just finished watching 12 Days of Terror.

B and I have been TEARING through The Wire, so I haven't been watching too many disaster movies. Or any movies for that matter.

But B had to work late last night, and I had a ton of cooking to in went my little guilty pleasure in the background.

I must say, I do enjoy a good shark movie.
Even though this was actually a docudrama, there was some pretty good carnage.

My one complaint? The movie follows the shark attacks from 1916 pretty one of the victims is a little boy. I hate when they kill kids! Movie sharks are ONLY supposed to eat unsuspecting co-eds, foul-mouthed bad guys and the occasional hapless bystander who is 18+.

Actually, I have two complaints.
The women in 1916 -- or at least the movie version of 1916-- were totally useless.

Lots of crying and screaming, but that's about it.
I prefer crying, screaming and shooting at the shark thank you very much.

Thursday, July 8

Quick Job & Life Update

It’s kind of funny, but lately life has gotten in the way of blogging.

I guess it would be pretty sad if it were the other way around, but I do miss sharing updates with all 2 of you who read this regularly!

So here’s a quick update:

  • First bridal party outing= HUGE SUCCESS! I was a bridesmaid in a wedding last weekend, and I could not have had a better time celebrating with A & M. I’ve known A since freshman year of college, and it was pretty amazing to see her so happy. Mazel tov again!
  • Freelance gigs 1 and 2 have been moving along nicely. Almost done with a big project for freelance gig #2 and will hopefully have more work coming my way once I return from vacation in mid July. 
  • In-office job is insanely busy. The non-profit just found that the NYC City Council eliminated all funding for sexual violence, and we’re now facing a budgetary shortfall of around $275,000. Incredibly frustrating/scary to see how little my own legislators value the work we do. The ONLY positive to this entire work-place crisis is that I’ve been honing my development & communications skills. 
    • Helped coordinate an emergency  phone appeal: CHECK 
    • Created a new section of the website: CHECK
    • Sending email blasts to donors: CHECK
  • Received degree in the mail. Finally!
  • Received business cards in the mail. Finally!

Update over. Must finish work, pack and then head off to a week-long vacation with friends!

Sunday, June 6

Birthday celebrations galore!

This past weekend was PACKED!

Birthday dinner Friday night @ Jadis followed by hang out time and then a girls-only sleepover.
Birthday dinner Saturday night @ Wildood BBQ, followed by party @ PS450 bar.

Restaurant reviews to come (via yelp), which I'll also re-post here.

Overall, a busy and pretty fabulous weekend! 

Also, a belated blogging happy birthday to A. & A.S.!

Saturday, June 5

Hello more freelance work..

Not sure how this happened, but I now have another freelance position.

Actually, I know exactly how this happened (thanks Sam N.!)...but I am a little perplexed about my mixed job-hunting results.

So far it seems like I can pick up part-time work and freelance gigs.
The full-time job with benefits, however, remains elusive.

So how much of this has to do with the economy? And how much has to do with my resume/qualifications/job hunting strategy?

Do I need to do something differently?
Or is this simply the reality of the current climate?

Wednesday, June 2

What I'm reading now..

Despite the brand-new and very beautiful Kindle (still excited--!!!)...I just finished the paper version of Blindness and am in the midst of reading The New Jewish Wedding (NJW).

I picked up Blindness @ a stoop sale a few weekends ago for $.50 and received the NJW as a present from a friend.

Although I usually read really quickly, I found myself moving through Blindness pretty slowly. Sarramago doesn't use any quotation marks to differentiate between dialogue and description, and I found myself re-reading big chunks of the book to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Despite the slow going, I thought it was incredibly fascinating.
And upsetting.
But I guess fascinating + upsetting = well deserved nobel prize for literature.

I also watched the movie on Netflix over the weekend and found it underwhelming.

It just does not compare to the book in any way shape or form! I did find it interesting, however, that many blind and visually impaired advocacy groups tried to organize boycotts of the film. Apparently there was a lot of controversy because the people in the novel really regress in terms of behavior, compassion, decency etc. after they become blind. While I appreciate that people who are blind are often discriminated against at work etc., I do not think that the novel actually promotes the idea that visually impaired/blind people are either less capable or somehow more prone to immorality/violence etc. Rather, I thought that the book was trying to convey that all people are ill-equipped to respond to catastrophe and that there is something (possibly intrinsic?) to human nature that allows for domination and violence when the opportunity arises. I think the blindness in the book/film have very little to do with actually being blind--especially in the context of real life.

As for the NJW, I'm finding out all sorts of interesting things about the way Jews get married, and what bits of the ceremony and celebration are traditional vs. borrowed from non-Jewish culture vs. tradition only and not necessary.

Still a long way off from integrating any of this new knowledge into planning, but glad to be learning more about marriage from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, June 1

Re-post from the Alliance blog: Support the PA Coalition Against Rape

I just posted this announcement/press release on the Alliance's official blog. I think it's a really important campaign, and a former PA resident I like the idea of supporting a great local organization.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is urging Pennsylvanians to contact WBEB 101.1FM in Philadelphia and express their displeasure with the station’s decision to deny PCAR radio advertising space for its HERO Project campaign.
The station denied PCAR space because the 30-second public service announcement, urging adults to report child sexual abuse, contained the words ‘rape’ and ‘sexual.’
WBEB’s General Manager Blaise Howard offered PCAR space only if it altered the wording to remove the word “rape” from the organization’s name and say “child abuse” instead of “child sexual abuse”, citing that the station’s listeners would be upset by the words that are currently used.
Howard stated to PCAR’s executive director that WBEB doesn’t take “explicit ads” because they are a “straight laced” company. However, the station does play sexually suggestive music by artists such as Prince, Madonna, Lady GaGa and George Michael.
“Child sexual abuse is not about sexuality.” PCAR Executive Director Delilah Rumburg said “It’s about violence to our children. If the station doesn’t believe its listeners could handle hearing words about abuse, imagine what child victims of sexual abuse are experiencing,”.
“We believe that our message is important to Pennsylvanians. All we are trying to do is get information out to the public that there is help and healing for survivors and their families. We don’t feel that modifying the language is an acceptable compromise. The station is asking us to censor information that could actually help their listeners. Their decision is appalling and perpetuates the veil of silence that continues to hurt victims in need of help.”
PCAR is urging residents to call the station at 610-667-8400 and voice their displeasure with the soft rock radio station and to ask the station to make a substantial donation to their local rape crisis centers.
To listen to the HERO Project public service announcements visit

Wednesday, May 26

One last thing on the big birthday...

A big thank you for all the facebook messages, text message, tweets and calls on the big day!

Also, Ben & co. produced some pretty fabulous gifts in honor of my birth & graduation:

 From Ben:
A kindle!!

As I might have won a prize in 4th grade for reading the most books (thanks Mrs. Z for making me stand out as the COOLEST kid in the class..urg)..I think this might be the perfect present!

I've already downloaded a bunch of free books from Amazon and am excited that I won't have to lug actual books around on the subway anymore!

(also.. thanks to google images for this neat generic photo of a kindle..)

Ben also bought me a necklace made by our friend from accessories by ash ! It's nice having talented friends..

And can't forget my fabulous presents from Ben's Mom & Dad:
My shiny red Le Creuset pan!!
I only have one picture of my holding the pan & grinning like an idiot..which I refuse to post online! So instead, here is (yet another) generic google image.

My pan is actually a little more oblong, and has a cute matching lid..but you get the idea. 

It's cherry red and sooo beautiful!

I told Ben that it's also a present for he will now be the recipient of delicious baked pasta dishes and the like. 

He was excited until  he remembered that we don't have a dishwasher...we have him! Poor thing!

Since it was also my graduation this week, Ben's parents also sent me a really pretty glass earrings/necklace set. Or maybe the jewelry was for my birthday and the pan was for graduating? 

Either way, this week  has been a good one for presents!

Birthday roundup..

Perhaps more introspective posts are still to come, but as of now, I'm feeling pretty happy about turning 25.

Some of it is that as I get older, the numbers themselves seem less scary.
When I was 14, 25 or 26 seemed really old.

I remember thinking that it was sad that my 8th grade Language Arts teacher was so desperate for a husband, especially since she was kind of old to still be single.

Of course, poor Ms. L.A.was probably only 27 or 28 at the time. Not exactly over the hill by any means.
And as I slowly inch closer to 27 or even 28, it just doesn't seem that old.

Also, it's pretty scary to think that at 14 I was convinced that all 20-something women were aggressively and anxiously searching for a man to marry.
While I think it was definitely true for Ms. L.A.--who by the way is now Mrs. L.A. courtesy of another teacher at the middle school--she could just have been searching for Ms. Right, or totally uninterested in a long-term relationship.

So now I've reached the quarter century mark, and I feel hopeful.
Still trying to figure out what to do about the job situation (more on that later), how to plan a wedding, and all sorts of other crazy things..but I'm pretty darn hopeful that everything will work out.

I also received some great birthday presents. So really, what's not to like about hitting the big 25?

Tuesday, May 25

Happy birthday to me...and my new toys!

25 years old today..

Although my mother likes to remind me that I wasn't actually born until 2 I guess I'm celebrating a few  hours early!

Pretty excited about my birthday/graduation party this weekend and some much-needed friend/family time.

Thursday, May 20

Job hunting etiquette?

I have come to a realization..I think I need a job-hunting guru. Or job fairy. Or something.

I think I'm doing a decent? decent-ish? good? job of staying positive and being proactive as I continue my hunt for a full-time position.

But sometimes I have questions or need advice, and I end up asking the same people over and over (sorry Ben!).

For example, is it bad form to apply for multiple positions at the same organization?
Does it make it better/worse if the applications are going to different divisions?

Do I seem unfocused if I do that?
Desperate for any job?
Or simply practical about my interest in a variety of opening?

I need a job guru!

You know you've been reading too many bad thrillers when...

...You see this job offer:

Chief Integration Officer
Millennium Promise
New York, New York 


Wednesday, May 19

Mini grapefruit & olive oil cupcakes with candied pistachios

A few months ago I made a olive oil and blood orange cake for Ben's birthday. 
It was super duper delicious and I've been meaning to make it again.

Unfortunately the blood orange growing season does not correspond with my wants and desires..and blood oranges are loooong gone in NYC!

So when a friend asked for some type of tasty citrus cake for her birthday, I decided to adapt the blood orange cake into some sort of grapefruit cupcake. 

The original recipe (here) turned into this:

For the cake
2 medium (red) grapefruits
½ cup whole milk
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the topping (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw pistachios

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease muffin tin with olive oil, or set out clean silicone cupcake holders (which is what I used).

Once all the preheating and greasing is done, grate the 2 grapefruits to get zest. Put aside in a little cup or bowl. Then supreme the grapefruit over a large bowl. I let the actual pieces fall into the bowl and reserved most of the juice for further squeezing into a measuring cup.  It was a little interesting (read: HARD) to supreme the grapefruits, but not impossible despite my relative inexperience. Once the fruit segments are in the bowl, measure the juice (you should have about 1/4 cup) and then add around a 1/2 cup of whole milk. Add the olive oil, eggs, and sugar to the juice/milk mixture and stir well to combine. 

In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients, and then mix in the wet ingredients, zest and grapefruit segments. Stir until batter is smooth.

Fill the muffin tin or baking cups around 1/2-3/4 full and pop them in the oven for 16-18 minutes. I know that my oven cooks a little unevenly and dries food out quickly, so you might have to tweak cooking times. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the topping:
Put the sugar in a saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and has turned into a dark syrup. Make sure it doesn't burn or get too hot!

While  you're creating your syrup, you can throw the pistachios into the microwave for about 45 seconds to get them a little toasty. Once they're toasted, toss them into the sugar syrup and mix them around.

Working really quickly, spoon a few pistachios and the now caramel-like sugar onto the top of each grapefruit cupcake. It will harden into a brittle like substance almost at once. 

Once all of the cupcakes are covered, pop them into tupperware containers. If you let the cupcakes sit out for a bit (like overnight) the sugar will soften back into a syrup and will sink into the cupcakes keeping them nice and moist. 
I wish I had better pictures..but here is what they looked like:

Tuesday, May 18

Weekend round up: Al Di La Brunch, marathon babysitting, & 4 mile walk to the street fair

This weekend was packed!

Saturday morning I had a birthday lunch for a friend (happy belated birthday D) @ Al Di La.
I was really excited that D picked Al Di La to celebrate, because it’s been on my must-try list for ages.
Like since my second week in Brooklyn..!

It was worth the wait—although I do wish that I could have tried more things on the menu. Guess Ben and I will just have to save our pennies and come back for a full dinner. I had a (stop reading now mom & dad) delicious pork belly sandwich and a few bites of D’s pasta. Another friend, J, ordered some type of dandelion and white bean salad that also looked delicious. I didn’t get to try a bit though since he’s a vegetarian and I thought it would be bad form to eat some of his food and then have nothing to offer in return. A bottle of Prosecco shared between 7 people kept the lunch hopping along, and then a nice long walk to Blue Marble (cinnamon ice cream=amazing) finished off the rather decadent morning.

Then off to Park Slope to babysit for baby M. Luckily, Ben was able to join me at around 9 with offerings of Vietnamese food and The Wire. When baby M’s parents came home at around 1:30 Ben and I were so wired from staying up late that we ended up going back to our place for some reading.

I know, we’re so cool. We babysit together and then read late at night.

Sunday I made some tasty but kind of weird looking egg/chorizo/potato hash and then we walked over to 5th avenue in Brooklyn for a street fair. It was a really far walk..and a really far walk back!

See!? :

Ok, so it doesn't look that far on the little map. But it was super hot out and I was in sandals!
After several hours made it home with only a few blisters, and then engaged in what can only be described as a baking frenzy.
Details on the frenzy to come..

Saturday, May 15

Job Updates: Who Needs Just 1 Position Anyway?!

I guess being a little type A has perks?

Ended my 2nd internship last Wednesday, and will arrive on Tuesday as the new part-time hire at the same organization.

Still looking for something full-time, but in the interim I have a paying part-time position @ a great non-profit, a freelance gig @ another great non-profit, and a paying position as baby M's babysitter (friend of a friend gig).

Feeling a little 'eh' about being a babysitter again, but I think it's mostly because it makes me feel a bit like I'm stuck in a high school/college flashback. I feel much less 'eh,' however, about having some money coming in from the work. Plus, baby M has big cheeks and is snuggly.

I'm still seriously underemployed, but I'm really grateful that I've been able to cobble together a few different things into some semblance of a work schedule.

Tuesday, May 11

Roethlisberger: Brain Damaged or Simply a "Boor"

According to an article running on Sports Illustrated Online, Ben Roethlisberger-the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers-may have brain damage.

While it seems pretty logical to conclude that a football player (lots of crashing to the ground) who was semi-recently involved in a serious motorcycle accident (more crashing to the ground) could indeed be suffering from brain damage, the article also posits that this actually provides a possible explanation for why Mr. Roethlisberger has been accused of rape twice in recent months.
Although not currently being treated for brain damage, a neuropsychologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is quoted as saying that someone with frontal lobe damage “might not read the intentions of a woman at a bar very well.. they might succumb to more primitive urges instead of saying, 'I shouldn't do this because it affects my career.'"

While the potential neuro-biological explanation for Ben Roethlisberger’s behavior is much more complicated (and described in more detail in the article), I was really struck by the doctor’s comment.

If Ben Roethlisberger does have brain damage, then he might not be able to accurately assess a situation.
That makes sense to me—and might have serious implications for any woman unlucky enough to find themselves in the vicinity of a large, often inebriated man with potential brain damage.

But what do primitive urges, or thoughts of career problems have to do with rape?

Men do not rape because they give in to primitive urges.
And men do not stop themselves from raping someone because they worry about how it might affect their career.

Men rape women because they think it’s OK to ignore the wishes and desires of a potential partner, or because they wish to exert power and control over a hapless or helpless victim. Or sometimes, because they’ve been taught that their physical needs are more important than anyone else’s.

Men do not rape because it’s a primitive urge.
People have sex because it’s a primitive urge. Sex and rape are not the same thing.

Ultimately, Ben Roethlisberger may have engaged in some sort of non-consensual sex because he lacked both the capacity to understand that his partner was unwilling and the ability to understand that he was unable to determine their interest.

But I think it’s dangerous to call these acts the result of the inability to control “primitive urges.” It’s demeaning towards men and dangerous for women.


Monday, May 10

What not to write to an-almost graduate...

Or why I think it's really important to remember 2 things when sending emails to potentially over-caffeinated and definitely over-worked graduate students:

1. Do not give them additional things to worry about
2. Do not give them additional things to worry about

So, really it's just 1 simple rule.

If you need to email, call, or  otherwise contact a graduate student who is literally days away from graduating please be CLEAR and upbeat unless there is actually a problem. 

I received this email earlier:

Dear Saskia,

To oversee the MHS program and progress of each student, each term, the department reviews all MHS students transcripts. Please review your credentialing form which is attached. This is a great time to review your progress and meet with your adviser if there is any reason for concern. We encourage you to keep up the great work and come to us with any questions.

I  read this email and immediately began to worry. 
Why did I need to review my credentialing form with graduation just a few days away?
Was something wrong?
Were they withholding my diploma?

Seems that nothing is wrong.
Grades are in, essay approved..graduation here I come.

So I clearly panicked and read too much into this email.
Which brings me back to my  original point.

If you are sending out 14 emails, all of them addressed to seriously stressed students..would it kill you to write something upbeat? Something that clearly indicates that everything is on track, and that this just a final formality?

Is that too much to ask?!

Sunday, May 9

I'm going to be a smarty pig!

I don't blog about pf (personal finance) stuff here very often because I feel a little conflicted about sharing $ information in such a public forum.

Which is funny--since in person I'm more than happy to chat away about anything and everything to do with savings, loan, paychecks etc.

Maybe it's because I'm the product of 2 attorneys--but the idea of putting some things in writing just makes me uncomfortable. At least, if the writing can be traced back! 

Anyway, I'm breaking my own unwritten (punny!) rule because..well..I'm excited!

Although I don't keep a pf blog, I do follow a few written by  others.
One of the sites included a post very recently about Smarty Pig.

I thought it was a cute name, so I visited the site.
I now think both the name and icon are cute. 

I also think it's a great concept.

You create short-term saving goals and the site helps you determine how much you need to transfer each month into their (relatively) high yield savings plan to reach the total amount. You get to set the time limit and keep track of your progress.

You can also accept donations from friends/family/others using a variety of privacy setting (or just save on your own), and receive smarty pig cards as gifts. 

When you've reached your goal you can have the $ transferred directly back to you bank account, or receive the amount as a gift certificate. If  you choose the gift certificate option you get a bonus amount added too. 

If you use smarty pig you clearly have to be really comfortable with online banking, and the idea of providing personal/financial information to secondary site. 

Since I also use I'm not that concerned, and they (seem) to have good security protocols in place. 
I'm going to do a little more digging and then I'll probably set up an account.

Perhaps B and I could add Smarty Pig gift certificates to our registry..whenever we get around to making one of those!

Tuesday, May 4

Cutest cat picture(s) ever..

No idea why we thought this was a good thing to do...but Bibi didn't seem to mind:

Also, can we talk about the fact that Layla and Bibi like to cuddle? They are SO CUTE! AHH!

Monday, May 3

Strategy Update: Informational Interviews

A few weeks ago, a co-worker @ one of my internships reached out and offered to introduce me to some of their connections in the city.

I (very very gratefully) took this co-worker up on their offer and have thus far set up 2 informational interviews @ really interesting organizations that do advocacy work in the city.

I had my 1st informational interview last week and was able to learn a bit more about the NYC non-profit community. I also received some really helpful and concrete suggestions about cover letter writing and appealing to those who make hiring decisions. One of my goals for today is to use this new knowledge to improve the set of cover letters/resumes that I'll be sending out today.

I have my second informational interview on Friday and am hopeful for some more good advice.

I don't know if any of these meetings will actually help me find a job, but having some sort of strategy as I job hunt is making me feel a little more in control of the process.

I actually do think that these meetings will help--either directly through the networking or indirectly through the advice--but am really excited to have them even if they're just educational.

Monday, April 26

Done! Done! Done! Finished!

My degree won't be in the mail until next month..but barring some weird catastrophic happenstance I am now the proud owner?receipient?something? of a Masters degree!

Enough said!

Sunday, April 25

Big step: the bank accounts are now 1. Almost.

Pretty crazy.
Ben and I now have a single account.

Kind of.

After several weeks of annoying phone calls and filling out forms (sometimes several times), Ben and I now have a joint checking account.

When I sign online I can now see the joint account, my original checking account and my savings.

As soon as I have a second to breathe I'm going to call the bank and am going to merge my original checking into the joint account.

I have NO IDEA why they couldn't do this as part of the process we just went through..but oh well.

Either way, big step!!

Saturday, April 24

Better late than never..? Indian Feast with some Brooklyn pals!

Yikes, you'd think something major was going on in my life or something--like presenting my final essay and getting my masters--what with my lack of blogging.

Oh, wait..that is happening...THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW!

I'll back back after I present with some post-graduate degree thoughts.
But for now, a cooking post!

The informal cooking club that I tried to start up last fall has slowly morphed into an informal dinner party group.

This past week it turned into an Indian-themed Shabbat dinner.
I'll have to check in with J (the host) of this particular shindig, because I should really link to the site that had all the recipes.

Since I can't remember it offhand, I'll just share some pictures.

As I (hope) you can was delicious!

Tuesday, April 20

DM throwback post: Day of the Triffids Mini Series?

I have a weird habit--I search imdb for former A/B list actors and then see if they have made any movies that I might enjoy.

Why former A/B listers only?
Becasue they make all of the 'good' made for TV disaster movies of course!
Nothing like a former A or B lister slumming it up in another snake/shark/catastrophe/tornado movie!

I was trying to look up a specicic original 90210 cast member earlier today, and couldnt' remember the right name. So I guessed, and ended up on the wrong page [note to self: do not confuse Jason Priestly with Luke Perry].

Well,  it all turned out for the best!
Seems Mr. Priestly was recently involved in a remake of The Day of the Triffids, which is one of my favorite creature feature mini-series.

I think that the new version is a BBC remake? But I can't find any release information.
I did find a link for the blu-ray edition (Day of the Triffids [Blu-ray])of the DVD, but it's not even available right now.

Guess I'll have to wait and see if it shows up in Netfix?