Link Love (2014-07-24)


10 things America does so much worse than Europe – Salon

“There is a relationship between background knowledge and reading comprehension. The more you understand about a particular subject, the more “hooks” keep the facts in there. So if you are going to read a book on a subject you don’t know much about, check out the Wikipedia article on it first to prep your brain to retain more.” How to Become a Faster Reader – Ryan Battles

5 Steps to Get Out of a Bad Relationship – Mind Body Green


“Extending protection from employment discrimination to LGBTQ individuals will come at “an unreasonable cost” to the common good . . . how exactly? As for national unity, there were plenty of individuals in the 1850s arguing that abolitionism was a threat to national unity. Some things are worth shattering national unity over. And religious freedom? That would be the religious freedom to refuse to hire LGBTQ individuals.” Rick Warren: Protecting LGBTQ Individiuals Would “Come at the Expense of Faith Communities” – Love, Joy, Feminism


“Two of the primary predictors of success for educational attainment and occupational earnings are, quite simply, your parent’s education and level of wealth.
If your parents went to college, you are more likely to go to college. So what does that say for communities who, until the 1960s, were denied access to all but a few colleges and universities?
If your grandparents didn’t even have the option of going to college, and your parents’ success in education was most easily predicted by your grandparents’ success, did your parents go to college? And if your parents didn’t go to college, are you as likely to go?
This is one of the many ways that the system of racial oppression continues to be reinvented.” Stop Saying Affirmative Action Disadvantages White Students – Everyday Feminism

13 Reactions to the Hobby Lobby Case That Are Completely Misinformed – Cosmopolitan

Aged 17, I am something of an anomaly when I arrive on an eating disorders ward. Close-cropped hair, black clothes, soaked in hair dye and riot grrrl rock, dressed as a boy, obviously queer. It is only later that I will learn that between a quarter and a half of young people hospitalised with eating disorders are gay, trans or genderqueer. That’s one of the things they don’t tell you about how and why young girls fall apart.
The young women already there look like broken dress-up dolls, all of us poured from the same weird, emaciated mould, barely able to stand upright, the same cut marks scored like barcodes in the secret places on our skin. Clearly, the other girls have starved themselves to the point of collapse simply because they want to look pretty; I, meanwhile, have perfectly rational, intellectual reasons for doing exactly the same. We will never be friends. We have nothing in common. ‘Being a perfect girl can kill you’ extract from The Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny – The Guardian

17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Boys About Sex – Everyday Feminism

“You see, when it comes to anything related to male desire trumping your personhood, men do this thing, where they think they’re really subtle. A strange man will walk up to a woman, start a seemingly innocuous conversation, and even though the woman knowswhat he wants, she has to tolerate this until he has revealed his intentions. She can’t ask him to leave her alone immediately, because then he can dismissively assert that she is presumptuous of his actions and thinks too highly of herself. If she rejects his advances too quickly, before they are obvious, he will pretend he never made them and insist that she’s so stuck up that she’s delusional. So she has to put up with this entire mind-numbingly inane conversation, until he finally asks for her number or whether she’d go out with him, and that’s when she’s “allowed” to turn him down. She may not be straight with him and turn him down before, or else she’s conceited (because he was never going to ask, supposedly.) Even though she’s right. Every time.” Men Need to Learn to Read Nonverbal Cues – the fatal feminist

Why Are All the Cartoon Mothers Dead? – Sarah Boxer – The Atlantic

Beauty & Body Image

“It is my firm and loving opinion that it is unrealistic to demand of ourselves that we always feel positively about our bodies. My solution is to stop doing that.
I don’t put any pressure on. I do my best. Life is hard. Health is hard. I no longer need to be perfect, in this as much as in other things. I simply cannot do it. As much as I do genuinely love and appreciate my body, I am a human being who struggles. I have good days and bad days. On bad days, I am so unhappy with my body it physically aches.
And to be honest, since I have accepted the pain and frustrations and patience required for living in my body…
it has all gotten easier. Permitting my negativite feelings space has allowed me to heal. I’ve got at least three degrees of acceptance here working in my favor. I enjoy thinking of myself as intelligent, so let’s call it Meta-Acceptance. It’s 1) okay that my body is so delicate, 2) also okay that I don’t like that my body is so delicate, amd 3) also also okay that I don’t like that I don’t like that my body is so delicate.” Sometimes I don’t love my body – Paleo for Women

21 Style Promises Every Woman Should Make to Herself – Thought Catalog

The ‘beauty’ industry has a vested interest in women feeling unattractive with a deep fear of aging. It also smells like something concocted to be a grand distraction for women. Keep women focused on attaining impossible standards of beauty and womanhood instead of using their whole heart and mind and considerable financial power to create wealth or have epic life experiences or pool resources to elect elect politicians that actually have women’s equality as a meaningful part of their agenda. The $25,000 Hole in My Budget – Nona Jordan


“The simplest meditation I know is one that Lauren and I share in Beyond Compare (coming oh so soon I can taste it.)
Count “one” on the inhale, “two” on the exhale, “three” on the next inhale, and so on until you get to ten. Repeat this until you feel yourself back in the present moment.
It’s the meditation that brings me back into my body. The body that knows the ground will support me. That my lungs will breathe for me. That my heart will beat for me. That the work is unfolding for me. That I am in the right place. That my intentions are good. That I am surrounded and guided by love.
You are too.” Monday Morning Tenders – Tanya Geisler

Fear of Pain is Not an Excuse – Danielle Dowling

“You get to choose who you let into your life and we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Show yourself some love by choosing carefully.” 5 Practical, Slightly-Snarky-Sounding, Non-Sparkly Ways I Practice Self-Love – yes and yes

7 Ways to Comfort Yourself Without Food – Christie Inge

Getting rid of the negative in our lives is just one step. The real magic happens when we multiply the positive.” Are You Avoiding Pain or Seeking Growth? – Becoming Who You Are

21 Ways to Stress-Less Right Now – Nicole Liloia


Why Kids Need the Sun – Mark’s Daily Apple

How Probiotics Helped Reduce My Sugar Cravings – Paleo for Women


Sweet and Sour Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free) – The Domestic Man

Coconut Chocolate Bars – The Nourished Caveman

Grain-Free Raspberry Sour Cream Crumble Cake – Texanerin Bakin

Guest Post: Crispy Fried Bananas – Against All Grain

Salted Chocolate Frozen Banana Bites – Gimme Some Oven

Writer’s Wednesday: First Crush: The Pursuit of Brave (Self) Love by Mara Glatzel

Mara Glatzel is one of my favourite coaches, time and time again her blog posts and newsletter love notes have broken through my shell and hit me right where I needed it. When it comes to courageous and brave self-care and self-love, she’s the first person I turn to. I love her thoughts on the need for us to look after ourselves the way we would look after a child – doing the hard thing, because it is the right thing in the long run. Something I am still working on truly incorporating into my life.

When you sign up for her newsletter you also get a free copy of First Crush: The Pursuit of Brave (Self) Love; 14 beautiful, courageous, inspirational love letters. I read them frequently, because they are such beautiful and necessary reminders.

Here’s one of my favourites:

I just need to get this out of the way: self-love doesn’t mean that everything is going to be pretty and pulled together all the time. It doesn’t mean that you wake up in the magical land of luxuriating in your own perfection 24/7.

It can be messy. It can be ugly. There will be tears.

Too many of us are walking around the world thinking that we aren’t “doing it right” when we get angry and frustrated with ourselves or speak to ourselves cruelly.

You will have hard days. You might even have hard months or years. Things happen.

Self-love is the practice of sticking with yourself – no matter what – even when (and especially when) things aren’t working out as you’d like them to.

Are you brave enough to hold both love and disappointment in your heart at the same time? Can you dig deep and say to yourself, “Yep, we might want to do that differently next time” without making that mean that you are bad or there is something wrong with you?

You deserve that kind of unconditional love from yourself.


Check out Mara’s blog and sign up for her newsletter to get her love notes. You won’t regret it.

Link Love (2014-07-19)


5 Rules to Make Dating Easier (On Yourself) – Dr NerdLove

Second, participants didn’t notice their own performance declines. When participants graded themselves, they believed that their performance declined for a few days and then tapered off. In reality, they were continuing to get worse with each day. In other words, we are poor judges of our own performance decreases even as we are going through them. In the real world, well-lit office spaces, social conversations, caffeine, and a variety of other factors can make you feel fully awake even though your actual performance is sub-optimal. You might think that your performance is staying the same even on low amounts of sleep, but it’s not. And even if you are happy with your sleep-deprived performance levels, you’re not performing optimally.” The Science of Sleep: How to Sleep Better – James Clear

7 Ways to Worry Less – All Groan Up


“I once asked a young earth creationist brother what he would do if there were a scientific discovery that squarely and obviously contradicted young earth creationism. He told me he would assume that a future scientific discovery would invalidate that discovery. In other words, there was utterly no way scientific evidence could change his mind. Why? Because his belief about the origins of the earth was religious rather than scientific.” Young Earth Creationism Isn’t Science – Love, Joy, Feminism


“So… some of those aren’t completely unreasonable grievances. In fact, some of them are really serious issues that need to be addressed (I do wonder which men they’re talking about with regards to high unemployment, because something tells me it isn’t about black men). There also isn’t an issue among this bunch that wouldn’t be solved by undoing patriarchy/misogyny/sexism and redefining masculinity/manhood.” The one where I need help understanding why MRAs don’t become feminists – Feministing

“Perhaps the big lesson here, the silver lining, is this: you don’t have to choose between power and love. Because I think what holds us back, in so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways (and this is true for both genders) is the fear of not being loved – even, or especially, if we can barely recognize the love in our lives in the first place. Men learn that they won’t be loved if they’re not powerful. Women learn that they won’t be loved if they are powerful.” 10 quick thoughts regarding love + power + badass women – Justine Musk

Why “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult – Feministing

“However, I believe that there is a disservice being done towards the fathers and potential fathers in a family. Perpetuating the stereotype of the mother that does all of the work and the father that “doesn’t know any better” about raising children is harmful, especially in a nuclear family where the parents are still together.
It gives the impression that it’s normal for fathers to be invisible when it comes to the hard part – raising the kids.” Mother, May I…. Change Archaic Parenting Roles? – Everyday Feminism

“It’s comforting: the thought that people are either entirely good or entirely evil; that if someone has achieved something great, they surely cannot also have committed something as vile as sexual assault; that if someone is convicted – or even so much as accused of rape or sexual assault – somehow any good they may have done in their life is erased. It makes us feel safe in the knowledge that if we ourselves have done good things we cannot possibly have done bad things or be bad people. Labelling someone as “evil” is shorthand for “not like us” – it creates a cognitive barrier between violent, abusive acts and ourselves. The problem is, of course, that this kind of comfort is not only false but dangerous.” Rape and reputation – The F Word

“Because what the ‘friendzone’ teaches us is that you don’t see the people you’re attracted to as fully human. You can’t see that they have motivations that have absolutely nothing to do with yours. That your attraction to them- that stomach-churning, gut-wrenching feeling you can’t but have around them- doesn’t oblige others to feel a particular way, or to act in the way that you’d like them. And someday I hope you understand that, right in your guts. I really, really do.” To The Guy Who OKC Who Messaged Me About The Friend Zone – Consider the Tea Cosy


“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”
“It’s not just scanning environment,” chimed in Julie Gottman. “It’s scanning the partner for what the partner is doing right or scanning him for what he’s doing wrong and criticizing versus respecting him and expressing appreciation.” Masters of Love – The Atlantic

“When we’re in love, our most precious commodity is trust.
Trust is the foundation of everything in a relationship:
Are you safe to open my heart to?
If you injure my heart, how do you mend it?
If I fall, will you catch me?
Do you take my tenderness and wrap it up with love?” In Love and Orgasm We Trust – Kim Anami

“5.5) Honestly, it all dials back to number 5.  When broken down into it’s most raw, unfiltered essence–we’re afraid.  Fearful of being alone.  Because we think “alone” will leave us vulnerable + potentially deemed unlovable.  This is not true, of course.  But when comfort, as we know it,  is threatened our survival nature can quickly overtake intelligence and irrational behavior reins supreme. And in this case we stall a long overdue separation.” Why We Stay In a Relationship Too Long – Danielle Dowling

Beauty & Body Image

10 Ways We Body Shame Without Realizing It – Internal Acceptance Movement


“Now I’m telling you, it has honestly taken me decades to finally have the thought I had next, which was this: “You can take the break before you need it.” You can take the break, replenish, stop whatever you are doing – when you still have fuel in the tank.” Take the break before you need it – Tara Sophia Mohr

“What do you want? If this was the last year of your life, how would you spend it?” What If You’re Scared of What You Want? – Create As Folk

“Awake is evocative + intense.
It is the subtle internal shift that produces monumental awareness.
Awake is your birthright. Your inheritance.
And it begins with gratitude.
So get gracious.
Start today.” Declaration of Gratitude – Danielle Dowling


16 Things That Affect Your Gut Bacteria – Mark’s Daily Apple

Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar: #1 Digestive Support – Divine Health From the Inside Out

What is Carrageenan and Is It Safe to Eat? – Wellness Mama

19 Indicators You May Be Hypothyroid – Paleo for Women

How to soften nostalgia for sugar – Growing Human(Kind)ness

Does Avoiding the Sun Shorten Your Lifespan? – Chris Kresser


Autoimmune Paleo Salmon Cakes – The Primitive Homemaker

Chocolate Brownie Bites – Our Paleo Life

Chocolate Coconut Butter – The Coconut Mama

Chewy Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Sea Salt – Slim Palate

Omelet Muffins – I Don’t Know…

Coconut Ghee Egg Spiced Chai Latte – Primal Girl

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup – GNOWFGLINS

Raw Mini Mascarpone Berry Cakes (grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar free) – Texanerin Baking

Bacon and Kale Pizza (Autoimmune Protocol Friendly) – Guest Post by Tyler Evelyn – The Paleo Mom

Fruit Pizza – Paleo Parents

Writer’s Wednesday: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

angela's ashesAngela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt became an almost instant bestseller when it was first published in 1996, and has won the Pulitzer Price, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Royal Society of Literature Award (amongst others). I think I watched the movie years ago, but I can’t remember much of it.

Finally picked up the book though, and it is beautifully and lyrically written, funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

When I look back at my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.
Above all – we were wet.

Born in New York in 1930 to a mum from Limerick and a dad from the North, his family was forced to move back to Ireland because of his dad’s alcoholism and the poverty it caused. Things didn’t get better back in Ireland though:

…On our way to school Leamy’s boys laugh at us because the tire pieces are so thick they add a few inches to our height and the boys say, How’s the air up there? There are six or seven barefoot boys in my class and they don’t say anything and I wonder if it’s better to have shoes with rubber tires that make you trip and stumble or to go barefoot. If you have no shoes at all you’ll have all the barefoot boys on your side. If you have rubber tires on your shoes you’re all alone with your brother and you have to fight your own battles…

I think my father is like the Holy Trinity with three people in him, the one in the morning with the paper, the one at night with the stories and the prayers, and the one who does the bad thing and comes home with the smell of whiskey and wants us to die for Ireland.
I feel sad over the bad thing but I can’t back away from him because the one in the morning is my real father and if I were in America I could say, I love you, Dad, the way they do in the films, but you can’t say that in Limerick for fear you might be laughed at . You’re allowed to say you love God and babies and horses that win but anything else is a softness in the head.

We go to school through lanes and back streets so that we won’t meet the respectable boys who go to the Christian Brothers’ School or the rich ones who go to the Jesuit school, Crescent College. The Christian Brothers’ boys wear tweed jackets, warm woolen sweaters, shirts, ties and shiny new boots. We know they’re the ones who will get jobs in the civil service and help the people who run the world. The Crescent College boys wear blazers and school scarves tossed around their necks and over their shoulders to show they’re the cock o’ the walk. They have long hair which falls across their foreheads and over their eyes so that they can toss their quiffs like Englishmen. We know they’re the ones who will go to university, take over the family business, run the government, run the world. We’ll be the messenger boys on bicycles who deliver their groceries or we’ll go to England to work on the building sites. Our sisters will mind their children and scrub their floors unless they go off to England, too. We know that. We’re ashamed of the way we look and if boys from the rich schools pass remarks we’ll get into a fight and wind up with bloody noses or torn clothes. Our masters will have no patience with us and our fights because their sons go to the rich schools and, Ye have no right to raise your hands to a better class of people so ye don’t.

But somehow McCourt manages to mix the tragic with the comedic, so half the time you don’t know whether to laugh or cry:

We ran to the church. My mother panted along behind with Michael in her arms. We arrived at the church just in time to see the last of the boys leaving the altar rail where the priest stood with the chalice and the host, glaring at me. Then he placed on my tongue the wafer, the body and blood of jesus. At last, at last.
It’s on my tongue. I draw it back.
It stuck.
I had God glued to the roof of my mouth. I could hear the master’s voice, Don’t let that host touch your teeth for if you bite God in two you’ll roast in hell for eternity.
I tried to get God down with my tongue but the priest hissed at me, Stop that clucking and get back to your seat.
God was good. He melted and I swallowed Him and now, at last, I was a member of the True Church, an official sinner.

I look out the back window to make sure the evening sun is drying my clothes. Other backyards have lines with clothes that are bright and colorful and dance in the wind. Mine hang from the line like dead dogs.
The sun is bright but it’s cold and damp in the house and I wish I had something to wear in the bed. I have no other clothes and if I touch anything of The Abbot’s he’ll surely run to Aunt Auggie. All I can find in the wardrobe is Grandma’s old black woolen dress. You’re not supposed to wear your Grandmother’s old dress when she’s dead and you’re a boy but what does it matter if it keeps you warm and you’re in bed under the blankets where no one will ever know. The dress has the smell of old dead grandmother and I worry she might rise from the grave and curse me before the whole family and all assembled. I pray to St. Francis, ask him to keep her in the grave where she belongs, promise him a candle when I start my job, remind him the robe he wore himself wasn’t too far from a dress and no one ever tormented him over it and fall asleep with the image of his face in my dream.
The worst thing in the world is to be sleeping in your dead grandmother’s bed wearing her black dress when your uncle The Abbott falls on his arse outside South’s pub after a night of drinking pints and people who can’t mind their own business rush to Aunt Aggie’s house to tell her so that she gets Uncle Pa Keating to help her carry The Abbott home and upstairs to where you’re sleeping and she barks at you, What are you doin’ in this house, in that bed? Get up and put on the kettle for tea for your poor uncle Pat that fell down, and when you don’t move she pulls the blankets and falls backward like one seeing a ghost and yelling Mother o’God what are you doin’ in me dead mother’s dress?
That’s the worst thing of all because it’s hard to explain that you’re getting ready for the big job in your life, that you washed your clothes, they’re drying abroad on the line, and it was so cold you had to wear the only thing you could find in the house, and it’s even harder to talk to Aunt Aggie when The Abbot is groaning in the bed, Me feet is like a fire, put water on me feet, and Uncle Pa Keating is covering his mouth with his hand and collapsing against the wall laughing and telling you that you look gorgeous and black suits you and would you ever straighten your hem. You don’t know what to do when Aunt Aggie tells you, Get out of that bed and put the kettle on downstairs for tea for your poor uncle. Should you take off the dress and put on a blanket or should you go as you are? One minute she’s screaming, What are you doin’ in me poor mother’s dress? the next she’s telling you put on that bloody kettle. I tell her I washed my clothes for the big job.
What big job?
Telegram boy at the post office.
She says if the post office is hiring the likes of you they must be in a desperate way altogether, go down and put on that kettle.
The next worst thing is to be out in the backyard filling the kettle from the tap with the moon beaming away and Kathleen Purcell from next door perched up on the wall looking for her cat. God, Frankie McCourt, what are you doin’ in your grandmother’s dress? and you have to stand there in the dress with the kettle in your hand and explain how you washed your clothes which are hanging there on the line for all to see and you were so cold in the bed you put on your grandmother’s dress and your uncle Pat, The Abbot, fell down and was brought home by Aunt Aggie and her husband, Pa Keating, and she drove you into the backyard to fill this kettle and you’ll take off this dress as soon as ever your clothes are dry because you never had any desire to go through life in your dead grandmother’s dress.
Now Kathleen Purcell lets out a scream, falls of the wall, forgets the cat and you can hear her giggling into her blond mother. Mammy, Mammy, wait till I tell you about Frankie McCourt abroad in the backyard in his dead grandmother’s dress. You know that once Kathleen Purcell gets a bit of scandal the whole lane will know it before morning, and you might as well stick your head out the window and make a general announcement about yourself and the dress problem.

If you haven’t read it, I suggest you put Angela’s Ashes on your list. As for me, I’ll be digging into the sequel ‘Tis next.

Find me and add me on Goodreads, to keep up with everything else I read.

July 2015 Twitterature

Welcome to Twitterature for July, time off coupled with some illness made for a great reading month in terms of books finished – not so much in terms of the quality of some of the books. As always linking up with the wonderful Moderns Mrs. Darcy.

how she does it


How She Does It: An everywoman’s guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life. by Anne Bogel (aka Modern Mrs. Darcy): An interesting & thought-provoking look at different & innovative ways to fit in work in unusual ways.



World Without End by Ken Follett (The Pillars of the Earth #2): The story drags on, the characters are very one-dimensional & have completely unrealistic ideas & insights. At 1000+ pages I’d #SkipIt



The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: 5 beautiful sisters commit suicide one by one over the course of a year. I feel like I should’ve liked it, but I couldn’t care about any of the characters. #SkipIt

eleanor park


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: My favourite book of the month! Sweet, innocent, heart-breaking, will bring you right back to your #FirstLove. Highly #Recommended (Full review here)

the hidden plague


The Hidden Plague: A Field Guide For Surviving and Overcoming Hidradenitis Suppurativa by Tara Grant: While I’m lucky enough to not have HS, I know people who do & wanted more information to help them (+ as I have other autoimmune diseases a lot of the info is relevant to me too). #Recommended

mind over medicine


Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.: Thought-provoking, full of references to scientific studies. I might not agree with Dr Rankin on everything, but I wish the conventional medical community would take this more seriously. #Recommended (full review here).

land of dreams


Land of Dreams (currently $5.93 for the Kindle edition) by Kate Kerrigan (the final installment in the trilogy, start with: Ellis Island & City of Hope, both currently $6.16 for the Kindle editions): I LOVED Ellis Island & City of Hope was okay, but Land of Dreams was frankly a disappointment. #SkipIt and read her earlier stuff instead (The Miracle of Grace & Recipes for a Perfect Marriage).

the books of rachel


The Books of Rachel (currently $5.22 for the Kindle edition) by Joel Gross: Loved the premise of this book: 500 years of young Jewish women named Rachel, telling the story of the Cuheno family. In reality the book was poorly written & I didn’t care much about any of the characters. #SkipIt


What have you been reading lately?
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.

Link Love (2014-07-12)


“And yes, I know that they need to be taught how to behave appropriately. I just no longer believe that yelling is the way to teach them appropriate behavior. Losing my temper and behaving badly is not the way to teach them how to act when they lose their temper and behave badly.
Because the example we set for them — how to act when things don’t go our way — is much, much more important than the rules we set for them. They learn lessons about behavior by our example, over time.” Parental Zen: How to Keep Your Cool as a Parent – zen habits

My No-Soap, No-Shampoo. Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment – NY Times

“So let’s detangle things a little here, starting with the question of signals or indicators of interest.As I’ve mentioned before: women are socialized to be indirect, especially when it comes to interacting with men and giving indications that they’re attracted to somebody. While men are taught to be forward – even aggressive – in displaying their interest, women are taught to be more subtle and rely much more on body language and eye-contact to communicate intent.Part of the reason for this – and why women on average don’t take a more proactive approach to dating – is because a lot of guys tend to respond badly to women who are aggressive or overt, and because women are more likely to be harassed even for baseline friendliness.” Ask Dr NerdLove: Do Women Have It Easier In Dating? – Kotaku

4 Life Lessons That Lead to Happiness, Success and Longevity – Barking Up the Wrong Tree

“We build walls to protect ourselves.
Walls are the antithesis of trust.
And trust is everything.” What Kills Relationships Fast – Kim Anami

The Most Powerful Way to Resolve Conflict in Relationships – Tiny Buddha


“My salvation anxiety goes way back. I remember getting out of my bed in the middle of the night when I was no more than five or six and going to my parents in tears, unsure of whether I was “truly” saved and whether my sinner’s prayer had actually been valid. Within evangelical Christianity, salvation is all in your head. It’s not about your deeds, it’s about your mental processes. But I found my mental processes more confusing than clear. I overanalyzed and often ended up freaking myself out. Hence the tears and the running to my parents. Each time this happened, my mother told me that the fact that I was worried about my salvation was a sure sign that I was indeed saved. This helped, but it didn’t fix everything—after all, where is that teaching in the Bible?” What’s More Terrifying Than Left Behind – Love, Joy, Feminism

“The #BornPerfect campaign will aim to dissuade parents who might be considering reparative therapy by providing them access to psychological experts and those who have been through such treatment, like Brinton. “We have no doubt they love their children,” Kendell says, noting that many parents might believe LGBT people lead more difficult lives and wish to spare their children from hardship. “We want parents to understand there are resources for them to come to terms with embracing their child as they are,” she says, whether those are online or public forums. The campaign will also include ongoing legislative efforts in other states to pass reparative-therapy bans, though Kendell declined to say which will be next at this time for fear it would mobilize the movement’s opponents.” #BornPerfect Campaign Aims to End Gay Conversion Therapy – Times


Do You See These 10 Everyday Sexisms? – Everyday Feminism

First, we don’t know how broadly this opinion reaches, or how slippery the slope downhill could be. The Court repeated several times in the opinion that it was only deciding the particular question here (contraceptive coverage, closely-held corporations, etc.) but there aren’t any principled reasons in the opinion to cabin it to that question. Why wouldn’t the same principles apply to a company that didn’t want to cover, say, blood transfusions (to which Jehovah’s Witnesses object) or psychiatric medication (to which Scientologists object) or even vaccines? And it’s not just insurance coverage at issue – it’s sex discrimination, race discrimination, sexual orientation, and gender identity discrimination, among other issues. What about a company whose owners believe men should be paid more than women because the bible teaches that men are the heads of the household? (True story, those cases have been brought before). Or a company whose owners believe that LGBT individuals shouldn’t marry or reproduce? (We’re all too familiar with that refrain). Or even a company who believes that African-Americans and Jews should not work with Caucasian Christians? (As many companies did in the Jim Crow era). Some of these scenarios may seem far-fetched, but there are no safeguards in the court’s opinion to prevent this expansive reading of RFRA from being used as a backdoor wedge to start undermining a lot of the civil rights protections we now take for granted.” In the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, what happens next? – Feministing

Jamila Lyiscott: 3 ways to speak English – TED

Beauty & Body Image

“”Orange Is the New Black” enters a landscape that labels non-thin bodies, at best, unattractive and, at worst, diseased, and inverts the resulting stereotypes with a slew of counterexamples: Classically attractive male guard Bennett does not, as he would on a lesser show, pursue a relationship with Maritza (Diane Guerrero), who Gloria jokes “looks like Sofia Vergara,”but rather with Daya (Dasha Polanco), who has a look not readily represented on television. Elsewhere, in a reversal of the oft-repeated trope, “fat woman gets rejected in her quest for the love of a thin person,” we see Tastee (Danielle Brooks) eschew the romantic advances of Poussey (Samira Wiley). Since the show’s first season, Lea Delaria’s character Big Boo has served as a kind of Litchfield prison sexual fiend — and while her aggressive-often-to-the-point of-harassment pursuits are not (and should not be) endorsed by the show, they do tell a very different story of how fat bodies can relate to sex than the one that says they should stringently diet and wait patiently to be skinny before they can even enter the arena.” Why The Body Diversity On ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Is So Important – Huffington Post

“1. You are enough just the way you are.
Forget the headstands, the crazy balancing positions, or being able to get your legs over your head. The same holds true for worldly achievements, too. Savasana reminds us that we are enough as we are.” Ten Beautiful Lessons Learned from Savasana – Thank Your Body

“Throughout our society, we have been taught many stereotypes, myths, and outright lies about women and our appearance.
We tend to think of the body as natural, but it is also social and political.  Culture and the institutions of our society (politics, the media, schools, the family, etc.) dictate what body types are perceived as ideal at any given time or whether there is much focus on the body at all.  They create gender distinctions that add social definition and meaning to those biological differences in our bodies.” Lies My Society Told Me – Style Cassentials


“Loving yourself doesn’t mean that every moment is easy.” Finding Joy In the Cracks & Crevices of Painful Moments – Mara Glatzel

“I’ve talked before about how inner critic/fearful voices are not, in fact, your enemy–it’s a wound. It’s a part of you that is afraid, shaking, desperately in need of love.” Why Hating Your Fear Is a Total Waste of Time – Your Courageous Life

“What feels most like LOVE?” – Susan Hyatt


A Quick Guide to Perfect Eggs: 22 Tips for Buying, Storing and Cooking a Primal Favorite – Mark’s Daily Apple

Natural Solutions to Increase Stomach Acid and Improve Digestion – Primal Docs

How to Get Calcium Without Dairy – Wellness Mama

The Difference Between Reversing Autoimmune Disease and Curing It – Phoenix Helix

Paleo diet used by Jack Osbourne and Chad Vaccarino to manage multiple sclerosis – Examiner

The Paleo Cure? Lose Weight and Feel Great – CBN


Grain-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Against All Grain

Homemade Healthy Pork Rinds Chicharrones Recipe – All Day I Dream About Food

Carrot Ginger Sauerkraut – Enjoying This Journey

Cinnamon Coconut Crisp Cereal (AIP) – Sweet Potatoes and Social Change

Sweet Potatoes with Hearty Meat Sauce (No Pasta Needed) – Mark’s Daily Apple

Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Pizza – The Real Food Guide

Easy Lemon Curd (paleo) – Savory Lotus

Nut-Free Paleo Chewy Granola Bars – The Paleo Mom

Bolognese – A Clean Plate

Turmeric Roasted Potatoes – And Here We Are

Post #300: Reflections on the Blog + the ‘Realness’ of Online Interactions

This is post number 300, since I started blogging under my own name, and moved the blog to my own URL about 26 months ago.

Early Beginnings + How Things Change

I first started blogging almost 4 years ago, and it has been a journey in becoming more truly myself. At the time I still identified as Muslim (albeit a feminist, Qu’ran only Muslim), I was just about to officially be diagnosed with Endometriosis, and I was still in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Things have changed a lot since then. I have started to find out how to better manage my Endometriosis, the importance of vulnerability, learnt that I’m an Atheist, I graduated, moved to Ireland from Denmark where I have for the past, almost 2 years been working at Oracle.


Which leads me to some news; come August I will be starting work with Dropbox covering Dropbox for Business in all of the Nordics, which I am very excited about. I don’t talk much about my work here on the blog, and I don’t expect that will change in the future. Suffice it to say that I have been very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work at Oracle, I have had amazing teams, managers, training and have learnt a lot.

Social Media + Virtual Friendships

make connectionsSocial Media and online interactions has fascinated me for years – probably helped that my dad was a programmer and loved debating people online (this was back in the 90’s and early 2000’s). I started late 90’s / early 2000’s and over the years I have made a lot of friends online. Some of them I still know and speak to regularly, others I’ve lost touch with along the way. Some I’ve ended up meeting in person, many I’ve only ever known through our online interactions. Some I have dated, others have become house mates or best friends even across great distances.

All of these people have made an impression for me, some small, some big, but they’ve all helped me learn, grow and develop as a person. I am so grateful to live at a time where such interactions and virtual friendships are possible. I think it is incredibly important for us to get to know people outside our own little view of the world, to see other ways of doing things, new ways of thinking. To understand someone else’s perspective. Doesn’t mean we have to do it their way, but I think it is important to have the ability to see that there are more than one way of doing things, and the way we’ve always done it might not be the right way for us. Reading blogs and interacting with people online has probably been the biggest catalyst for growth in my life, spurring me to reconsider and try new things.

Virtual Joy

Through my use of Social Media at work, I became friends with Christopher Demers aka ChristopherinHR, first through Twitter and even more so as I began reading his always inspiring and thought-provoking blogposts. I reached out to Christopher to let him know that I’d be leaving Oracle to work for Dropbox, which means I’ll know longer be discussing HR in my professional social media, as I have until now, but hoping we could still stay in touch. While I expected him to tell me that of course we’d still be in touch, I was blown away by the blogpost he wrote, in response to my message.

To me, this post really exemplifies the realness of our online interactions and virtual friendships. We do have the power to touch other people’s lives through our blogs, tweets, status updates and comments – for better or worse. To quote Christopher:

People in your virtual world are as real as you let them be. Revel in that expanded network, that enlarged space. Enjoy the worldwide reach of shared ideals and ideas. Immerse in and drink from the well of talent and care so willingly given.

Thank you Christopher, and also thank you to all the hundreds of people that have enriched my life in one way or another through our online interactions.

Writer’s Wednesday: Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, M.D. + The Role of Skepticism in Health

Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D., is a difficult one for me. On one hand I am a skeptic at heart and I tend to question most things in life – whether that be religion, work, lifestyle and health. As an example I am gluten free, even though I am not (to my knowledge) Celiac. And you know, gluten free is all a fad… Although my decision came after reading about an Italian study that showed 75% of women with Endometriosis do better on a gluten free diet, you could easily – from a skeptical perspective – pick it apart: It wasn’t a double-blind study, there was no control that people really stayed gluten free, etc. But I decided that it was a good enough reason for me to give gluten free a proper chance. After I reached my initial goal of 3 months I already felt much better, and since then I have halved my consumption of pain killers. Which is anecdotal evidence, and therefore counts for practically nothing in most skeptical communities.

Furthermore, I know that I do much better when I follow a primal/paleo diet and cut out all grains, legumes, processed/refined sugar and most dairy. I always stay gluten free, but I can tell you when I eat processed food (including processed gluten free foods) and particularly anything rich in sugar, my body reacts. Strongly. Again, this is anecdotal evidence and even though I could link you to hundreds and probably thousands of blog posts from people who are paleo/primal and where these lifestyle changes have improved their health and wellness, it is still “just” anecdotal evidence. Or worse, “all in our head”, a statement which I am particularly sensitive to as I have had several doctors tell me that my period pains were “all in  my head” and that I just needed to get over myself. This happened for years until I finally saw an OB/GYN specialized in Endometriosis who straight away recognized my symptoms and had me booked in for a laparoscopy (the only way to diagnose Endometriosis). Turns out, it was not all in my head.

With that being said, I do think our head and our mind can play a massive role on our health, wellness and recovery. We know that our mind can play a huge effect on our body, so that we might get better when given a sugar pill as long as we believe it is the real medicine, aka the placebo effect. Similarly we might experience side effects from medicine – even if we have received no real medicine – this is also known as the nocebo effect. It is a fine line though, I don’t believe in “the law of attraction” – that it is out “fault” if we become ill, but I do think our mind can play a huge role in our getting better. What I don’t understand is how often the conventional medical community will completely disregard the placebo effect as a useful tool in helping people to heal. At the end of the day, if I halved my pain from going gluten free I don’t really care if it’s the placebo effect – I care about how I feel and my health.

mind over medicine While I did not agree with everything that Lissa writes in Mind Over Medicine, I thought it was very thought-provoking and a great read to start thinking about these issues. I really loved her own journey from a more “standard” medical approach, to beginning to look at the role that our mind plays in our health. Her dedication to her dad (who was also a very skeptical doctor) was very heart-warming:

I hugged Mom and mused about what my father would think about this book if he had read it. The whole time I researched it, his voice was the voice in the back of my head, questioning me, prodding me, pushing me to go deeper, serving as the ultimate skeptic I was trying to win over.

I also really appreciated her focus on providing references for her statements:

Throughout this book, I make every effort to back up what might seem like far-out statements with scientific references. Because I know that what I’m about to teach you will raise eyebrows, I’ve written this book just for the people who are skeptical, as I was. I’ve laid out the book to walk you through my argument as if a jury of my physician peers were judging me.

Lissa starts of by talking about the different thoughts around how placebo works; 1) they think they will get better, 2) classical conditioning, 3) emotional support, 4) other treatment and 5) disease resolves itself. She goes on to talk about how negative thinking has been shown to have an effect on our body and how our thoughts can actually change the way our DNA expresses itself.

Lipton says, “When we shift the mind’s interpretation of illness from fear and danger to positive belief, the brain responds biochemically, the blood changes the body’s cell culture, and the cells change on a biological level.”

When our beliefs are hopeful and optimistic, the mind releases chemicals that put the body in a state of physiological rest, controlled primarily by the parasympathetic nervous system, and in this state of rest, the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms are free to get to work fixing what’s broken in the body.

Talking about the use of alternative treatments (this is where I get very skeptical, to be honest):

Instead of dismissing such treatments, I’d like to make the argument that perhaps nontraditional healing modalities work not so much because of the modality being practiced as because of the potent combination of positive belief in the healing method, the nurturing care offered by the practitioner, and the relaxation responses these treatments induce. Perhaps these modalities are, in fact, highly effective— but not via the means we might expect.

In conventional medical wisdom, we call anything that doesn’t outperform placebo “quackery.” But haven’t we lost sight of the real goal? I suggest we reconsider our evaluation standards regarding the efficacy of medical treatments. If the patient is getting better, does it really matter whether the treatment is better than placebo? Is resolution of symptoms and cure of disease not the ultimate goal? Does it really matter how we achieve such a goal?

One thing that turns out to be very important is whether or not we FEEL in control of our health and our lives:

Psychological states can directly affect the outcome of remission from some diseases, at least those that are immune-mediated, as many cancers are. This may explain why optimists are healthier than pessimists. Because of their healthier explanatory styles in the face of negative life events , optimists are more likely to learn healthy adaptations in response to life’s shocks, making them immune to states of helplessness. Pessimists, on the other hand, feel like life’s shocks are inescapable, and like the listless, helpless rats, they get depressed and their immune systems weaken . Over the course of a lifetime, fewer episodes of learned helplessness may keep the immune system stronger, reduce stress responses and their negative health outcomes, and reduce the likelihood of disease.

Radical self-care also involves things like setting boundaries, living in alignment with your truth, surrounding yourself with love and a sense of connection, and spending time doing what you love. You need radical self-care, not just in your health habits, but in the rest of your life.

Merely knowing what needs to change isn’t enough. The hardest part of the process is mustering up the guts to actually do what you know you need to do.

Whole Health Cairn

Whole Health Cairn

Lissa goes on to talk about the importance of happiness, how we can deal with our own negative thoughts and beliefs. She also goes into great detail about the importance of balance in our lives, what she calls the ‘whole health cairn’ – if one of the stones/parts in our lives isn’t balanced, our physical health is often the first to go. Lissa ends by giving us suggestions on how we can write our own individual prescription to help us create more balance and vitality in our life.


What are your thoughts around skepticism, health and wellness? Can diet or alternative medicine play a role? Will you or have you already read Mind Over Medicine?
Find me and add me on Goodreads, to keep up with everything else I read.

Link Love (2014-07-05)


Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices – TED

“It’s easy to play safe when you hide behind a non-sexual relationship, or a lackluster one.
None of you is really on the line.
You can spend years hiding in that place.
But when you meet and let yourself open to someone who demands all of you, sees all of you, there’s no more hiding.
Or when you decide to really let yourself be seen, everything changes.” The Price of Love – Kim Anami

Stop Caring What People Think – Danielle Dowling

“This person sounds exhausting, and her relentless negativity is going to destroy her friendships if left unchecked. You can be a cool person who is going through a shitty time and who is not handling it so well. You can be super, super sad.  You can ask your friends to listen and help take care of you.  But you cannot endlessly use them as a source of free therapy, or expect them to stick around if you act like a toxic jerk.” Question 143: I lent an ear to a friend, how do I get it back? – Captain Awkward

How to Deal With Jealousy – Dr NerdLove

Religion: Sexual Abuse + Victim Blaming

These include some of the links that went into my post about sexual abuse and victim blaming within religious communities:

“The offender need only repent. That’s it. If he repents, his slate is wiped clean. The victim must forgive, and that means never being angry, never being bitter, and getting over what happened post haste.” When Evangelicalism Makes Things Easy for Sexual Offenders – and Hard for Their Victims – Love, Joy, Feminism

“Through this whole process, I learned that much is required of those victimized, while little is asked of sex offenders. When my husband began to spin his story, it was received with affirmations of how courageous he was. He was even placed on the worship team within a few months of his confessions. In contrast, I was expected to never be angry, bitter, or wrestle with forgiveness. I needed to heal quickly and quietly. And, of course, I couldn’t ever question his “recovery.” His was a wondrous redemption story, and to question his trustworthiness was to question God’s work in his life.” I married a sex offender – Converge

“Save all of us victims of child abuse the “all sins are the same” or “he needs love and compassion and grace.” All sins do not have the same damn repercussions as others. All sins do not leave young youth with bitter views of church and its congregations. All sins do not leave the sinner in jail and the victim in therapy, and sometimes hospitals because of suicidal tendencies. All sins do not leave young girls with a fear of authority figures. While you stand on your boat of misguided love, compassion and grace for the child molester, the child is fighting the tidal waves of guilt and shame out alone in the ocean.” My Innocence Was Stolen From Me – Redemption Pictures


“Poorly executed Strong Female Characters are such a recurring frustration they’ve been the subject of an entire Kate Beaton comic strip. But even if you create a truly well-written, soulful badass, there’s no point if she doesn’t have any real role in the plot:
Bringing in a Strong Female Character™ isn’t actually a feminist statement, or an inclusionary statement, or even a basic equality statement, if the character doesn’t have any reason to be in the story except to let filmmakers point at her on the poster and say “See? This film totally respects strong women!”” ‘Strong Female Characters’ Aren’t Enough Goddamit – Jezebel

4 Reasons We Need More Girls of Color in Young Adult Media – Everyday Feminism

“So here’s my question for you today: how often do you say, “I don’t know”? And when do you say it? And why?
The research finding is this: women hold themselves to a higher threshold of certainty before offering an opinion on a topic, as compared to men. In other words, in order to share an idea, information, a guess, women tend to think they need to be fairly sure they are right, in order to speak up. Men hold themselves to a lower certainty threshold.” what’s your threshold? – Tara Sophia Mohr


Additional Questions to Spark Self-Discovery – World of Psychology

Becoming Who We Know We Are – Create As Folk

5 Signs You Need to Make a Change – Your Kick Ass Life

Beauty & Body Image

“Wear dresses if you want to. Wear cute shoes and earrings and bright red lipstick. Shave off every hair on your body if that’s what feels right. But please recognize that you don’t do any of those things because you just happen to like doing them. Please acknowledge that you made a choice that was heavily informed by the fucked up misogynistic culture we live in. Accept that sometimes your choices are anti-feminist, not because you’re a bad feminist but because that’s the world we live in right now. And once you’ve done all that, let’s try to figure out a way to change things so that girls no longer have to feel like their bodies aren’t good enough just the way they are.” Shaving Your Legs Is Not Feminist (But You Can Still Be a Feminist and Shave) – The Belle Jar

Makeup and Professionalism – Already Pretty

“In March, the academic journal Sex Roles published a study suggesting that young girls who played with Barbie dolls ended the play session thinking that when they grow up, they won’t be as capable of doing the same jobs that boys can do—even if their Barbie was dressed like a doctor. Girls who played with a formless Mrs. Potato Head figure, on the other hand, were much less likely to count themselves out. Now, New York City moms Dawn Nadeau and Julie Kerwin are teaming up to offer boys and girls a play alternative that looks like a woman but not an object. Last month, they launched their own action figure company, IAmElemental, and have since raised over $160,000 on Kickstarter to jump-start a line of female action figures inspired by everyday “superpowers” like bravery, honesty, persistence, and fear. I talked with Nadeau (who has two girls, ages 6 and 8) and Kerwin (two boys, 8 and 16) about taking on Mattel, how to get boys to pick up female action figures, and the challenges of molding a plastic butt.” IAmElemental action figures: Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau build a better action figure for girls – Slate

Growing Up Dark-Skinned in Colour-Conscious India – Everyday Feminism


Nutritional Cures for Damaged Teeth – Mark’s Daily Apple

Is Fibromyalgia Caused By SIBO and Leaky Gut? – Chris Kresser

The WHYs behind the Autoimmune Protocol: Alcohol – The Paleo Mom

If you eat Paleo, you are still going to die – Paleo for Women


Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes – Against All Grain

Slow Cooker Harissa Stew – Mark’s Daily Apple

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots – Salixisme

Sea Salt Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles – Paleo Parents

Kombucha Cosmopolitan – Nourishing Joy

Autoimmune Protocol Friendly Beef Jerky – The Paleo Mom

What To Do With Way Too Much Sage – And Here We Are

Chicken Abricot Curry – A Clean Plate

How to Make Homemade Breakfast Sausage – Wellness Mama

Salted Caramel Chocolate Coconut Bars – Savory Lotus

Writer’s Wednesday: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (+ First Love)


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is really hard to describe. For a long time I didn’t pick up, because all the descriptions I read made it sound very simple and for a much younger audience. If it wasn’t because people kept recommending it and I saw it was on sale on Amazon (currently $2.54 for the Kindle edition), I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. Once I did however, I finished it in 24 hours.

…and now I am stuck trying to describe it in a way that won’t put people off reading it. From the back cover:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

That’s pretty accurate. Eleanor & Park is about innocence. First love. Gender roles. Domestic violence. Poverty. Race. Class. And truth be told it is simple, and so incredibly complex at the same time. As it should be, because first love often is simple – and so incredibly complex at the same time.

The descriptions of when they first hold hands and touch each other are spot-on and somehow manages to catch the electricity of even touching the hand of your first love.

Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

How could it be possible that there were that many nerve endings all in one place? And were they always there, or did they just flip on whenever they felt like it? Because, if they were always there, how did she manage to turn doorknobs without fainting?

(Besides they didn’t just hold hands. Park touched her hands like they were something rare and precious, like her fingers were intimately connected to the rest of her body. Which , of course, they were. It was hard to explain. He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.)

One short quote really hit home for me:

The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.

It very poignantly describes something that I have never been able to put into words, but have always felt to be true; after ending a relationship a part of me, the ‘me’ that I was, when we first met and fell in love would continue to love and belong to that person. As we grow and change a relationship might not be right for us anymore – or at least it might need to take a different shape going forward, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. That it wasn’t important. Or that those feelings weren’t real.

Often these days we are encouraged to move on, leave the past behind and “learn from the mistakes”. But just because a relationship doesn’t last, doesn’t mean that it was a mistake. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t exactly what we needed in that moment. To me, there’s nothing shameful about recognizing that these people played an important role in shaping who we are today, and that yes, a part of you will always love them and belong to them. And that’s okay.


How do you remember your first love and past relationships? Have you read Eleanor & Park? Are you going to?
Find me and add me on Goodreads, to keep up with everything else I read.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 784 other followers