Apologies for the lack of posts on the blog. We had to move unexpectedly, when our landlord decided to sell the place. The stress from the move caused the worst flare up I have had so far, and we are still settling into the new place. At this stage I am massively behind on my book reviews though! I will have to try and catch up before the end of the year.
Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change by Gary Szenderski*: An excellent and thought-provoking collection of essays and stories. I enjoyed this one in bite-sized portions, taking time to mull over each little gem. These positive stories are focused on change, on what is possible, when we open our mind to possibly doing or seeing things a little differently.
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre: Probably the most important book I’ve read this year. While I’ve been sceptical of Big Pharma for a long time, I was shocked and horrified to know just how bad things are. There are massive issues around funding, loopholes for approvals, and not publishing unfavourable results skewing the safety and efficiency perceptions of drugs. Bad Pharma isn’t anti science – rather the opposite – Ben Goldacre is a doctor and science journalist, and advocates for sticking to the scientific method, full disclosure and advocating for the interest of the patients – not the drug companies. I can’t recommend this enough.
Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle*: A fairly basic introduction to minimalism and simple living. Unfortunately the ARC I received didn’t have any pictures, which is what Erin Boyle is famous for on her blog Reading My Tea Leaves, and I think, I would’ve rated it higher with the pictures. Simple Matters is written in the memoir-style with lots of advice and ideas sprinkled in.
Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook by Anya Fernald*: I really enjoyed diving into Fernald’s experiences with Italian cooking, and how it affects her cooking today. With a wonderful focus on local food, and traditional cooking and preparation styles to let the flavour of great quality food shine through. My favourite thing about Home Cooked is the way it empowers you by teaching fundamentals and how to expand on them. Highly recommended.
Fitted Knits: 25 Projects for the Fashionable Knitter by Stefanie Japel: I loved the technical expertise and the author’s approach to knitting. Many of the designs were a bit dated and featured very chunky knits, which I personally don’t find that appealing. With that being said there were several gorgeous pieces – especially towards the end.
What have you been reading lately? Check out Modern Mrs Darcy for more quick book reviews.
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
*Received an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“To illustrate the resulting peer-perception gap, researchers compared the importance student grades had on winning a nomination to the weight of the gender bias. The typical student received 1.2 nominations, with men averaging 1.3 and women averaging 1.1.
Female students gave other female students a recognition “boost” equivalent to a GPA bump of 0.04 — too tiny to indicate any gender preference, Grunspan said. Male students, however, awarded fellow male students a recognition boost equivalent to a GPA increase of 0.76.
“On this scale,” the report asserted, “the male nominators’ gender bias is 19 times the size of the female nominators’.”” The remarkably different answers men and women give when asked who’s the smartest in the class – The Washington Post
“But am I actually ‘better’ at doing these things – or is it because, as the woman in this partnership, I’m expected to do these tasks and as a result have developed the skills which make me better at it?
I’m told that it’s a natural attribute as a woman to want to organise, care, be empathetic and run a home. But what about when we start thinking about all the things that women do in the home as real, actual work? Most of all, what about the emotional labour – the work that goes largely unnoticed, unrewarded and certainly unpaid?
Co-ordinating children’s social lives, remembering birthdays, organising childcare, booking holidays, managing family relationships and fall-outs, maintaining contact with friends and family, planning the weekly meals: these are all on the broad spectrum of emotional labour.” We need to talk about women’s unpaid emotional labour – and urgently – The Independent
Beauty & Body Image
“Meanwhile, these new, durability-focused companies say their success lies in providing a true antidote to fast-fashion: ultra high-quality clothing, made sustainably, that people can afford.
Tom Cridland, a 25-year-old British designer and entrepreneur, launched The 30 Year Sweatshirt last summer to call to task fashion’s built-in obsolescence. Fast-fashion clothing is notorious for looking faded and dated in a handful of wears. By contrast, Cridland’s pullover is handmade in Portugal of Italian organic cotton and finished with a treatment that wards off shrinkage and pilling. The company pledges to provide repairs free of charge through 2046.” The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better – The Atlantic
“There’s a lot to like about the new Supergirl TV show – it’s funny, it’s warm, it’s unashamedly feminist, and there are lots of cool explosions. But my favorite part so far has to be her revamped costume, and what it says about the type of Supergirl the show intends to portray.” Supergirl’s New Clothes – Already Pretty
“It’s not an easy task to feel Right in a world that body-shames and slut-shames and shame-shame-shames everyone into feeling deeply, inherently wrong. But I’ve always had very strong feelings about natural, real-life nakedness. I think it’s an epic travesty that our culture doesn’t support it. There’s something inherently wrong to me about clothes being the default. I like clothes, don’t get me wrong. I like style, and I like being warm, and there’s no effing way I would ever sit my bare naked ass on, say, a NYC subway seat. But I also think that a huge amount of our cultural issues with body shaming and distorted body image can be traced back to how uncomfortable we are with real, natural nakedness.” Why I’m Getting Naked on the Internet – Jessi Kneeland
“Anywho, since we don’t have omnipotent powers, it confuses me when parents don’t take advantage of the few things we have control over, such as, for example, COMMON DECENCY.
Not being a dick.
This is not hard. This is easy. This is like one area of parenting that isn’t complex and confusing and yet, not all parents do it. Why? This is the “gimme” of parenting. The low-hanging fruit. The freebie.
THIS IS THE AREA WE CAN REALLY SHINE, PEOPLE.
And yet, so many assholes on the playground.” Can we all agree to teach our kids some freaking manners? – Renegade Mothering
“Women who work hard to be better than other women suffer a lot. They don’t actually need to be upbraided for it. They’re already struggling enough. So I’m not saying NEVER EVER PUT YOURSELF ABOVE OTHER WOMEN, SISTER. What I’m saying is that when you try to set yourself apart from other people IN GENERAL, in your own mind, in order to soothe yourself and tell yourself that things will work out just fine for you, in order to reassure yourself that you’re sexier and better than the desperate cookie-cutter girls you see out at bars, it doesn’t actually make things any easier for you. It makes things harder. When you choose to love yourself for superficial reasons, you teach other people to love you for superficial reasons. And when you reject yourself and scold yourself for things that are beyond your control, you degrade your own ability to show up and enjoy your life. You hate your own humanity. You reject yourself for being a fucking mortal.
If you have to be shiny and superior to matter, then eventually you won’t matter at all, even to yourself.
But you do matter. You are lovable and you matter. You deserve love.” Ask Polly: Why Did My Dream Man Dump Me? – The Cut
“You work through that list and forgive yourself for every judgement and misbelief you’ve made about yourself.
As you do this you will A) Get great insight into your inner nutso and realize that some of the things you feel guilty about are total nonsense, and B) get great insight into the massive burden you carry around and now be ready to let go of it.
But, the most important thing, and I say this with great seriousness; you will forgive yourself.
Honestly, you will find that the massive burden of that first list practically disintegrates as you write down your forgiveness. If you then read out loud your forgiveness you’ll find yourself completing an incredibly powerful practice.” How to Practice Self Forgiveness and Let Go of Guilt – Lottie Ryan
“When the world is struggling we can get swept up in the struggle too. Often our first reaction is to let go of joy and playfulness. Of course! Who could care about sparkles when places and people you love are hurting? And I understand that, I really do.
Except I know that diving into the media, the rumours, the updates, the worries, is a recipe for me to feel powerless and disembodied. Which doesn’t benefit anyone. The world needs all of us right now, and doing beautiful things is a way we can add to the joy of the world.” Beautiful Things to Do Because… The World Needs Beauty Right Now – Grace Quantock
“The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, referred to as the rest and digest system. It’s not the only nerve in the parasympathetic system, but it’s by far the most important one because it has the most far reaching effects.
The word vagus means “wanderer,” because it wanders all over the body to various important organs.
The vagus nerve connects to the brain, gut (intestines, stomach), heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, ureter, spleen, lungs, fertility organs (females), neck (including pharynx, larynx, esophagus), ears and tongue.” 32 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve (and All You Need to Know About It) -Selfhacked
“Having a strong social network provides a huge range of benefits. In terms of physiologic responses, the feeling of connection causes changes in hormones that directly improve our health, including regulating both cortisol and oxytocin (see this post). There’s practical benefits as well: it can make all the difference to have someone you can count on to watch your kids, pick something up at the grocery store for you, or talk to when you’ve had a bad day. Research shows that having a close inner circle of 8 to 10 people that you can depend on and confide in is optimal. Just knowing that you have people who are there for you, just feeling connected to even a small handful of people whom you trust and love, can make a huge difference in your ability to cope with, and heal from, chronic disease.” Autoimmune Disease: A Road That Doesn’t Need to Be Walked Alone – The Paleo Mom
“To get it out of the way: the Gender Novels fail to communicate what it’s actually like to transition. Their portrayals of gender-identity struggles are ham-fisted, and despite the authors’ apparently good intentions they often rehash stale, demeaning tropes: a coy mix-and-match of pronouns; descriptions of trans women as fake and mannish; the equation of gender with genitalia and surgery; a fixation on rare intersex conditions that allow for tacked-on, unrealistic transition narratives. (Many intersex people, those born with atypical sexual or reproductive characteristics, don’t transition from one gender to another; as well, Wayne’s self-impregnation—a major plot point in Annabel—is a medical impossibility.)
All of which is frustrating but unsurprising. What’s surprising, even flat-out weird, is how alike all the protagonists are. Their lives unfold almost identically: they grow up in unsupportive families; their fathers are domineering or distant; their mothers are kind but frail. When they come of age, they leave humble hometowns to find new lives in the big city. They rent crappy apartments, work menial jobs, detach from their families, and fall in with crowds good and bad. Most of them are physically or sexually brutalized.” Rise of the Gender Novel – The Walrus
“Hell, even though women live it, we are not always aware of it. But we have all done it.
We have all learned, either by instinct or by trial and error, how to minimize a situation that makes us uncomfortable. How to avoid angering a man or endangering ourselves. We have all, on many occasions, ignored an offensive comment. We’ve all laughed off an inappropriate come-on. We’ve all swallowed our anger when being belittled or condescended to.
It doesn’t feel good. It feels icky. Dirty. But we do it because to not do it could put us in danger or get us fired or labeled a bitch. So we usually take the path of least precariousness.” The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About – Drifting Through My Open Mind
“Childcare in Ireland is often prohibitively expensive. As we saw above, women are still considered primary carers for children in this country, so this has stronger knock-on effects for women’s lives than men’s. For many families, even if both parents want to work outside the home it’s not financially possible to do so- it costs money to have a job.
Last year, creche spaces for two children- a toddler and a baby- could set a family back over €2000 per month. The average net wage in Ireland? €2129 per month. Factor in the costs of going to work- petrol or bus fares, a cup of coffee on your break- and you can end up poorer than if you’d stayed at home. Of course, the thing about an average wage? Half of employed people will earn less than it.” An Incomplete List of Gendered Injustices Against Irish Women, and the People Working to Change Them, Part 2 – Consider the Tea Cosy
“I had.to learn.to love. myself. My WHOLE self.
And so I did. It wasn’t a journey. It’s ALWAYS a journey. It will FOREVER be a journey. I will probably NEVER be 100% comfortable with the gap in my teeth, but I have learned to love it because it makes up a huge part of my smile, and when I smile, I smile from my heart. I am less than thrilled (READ: ANNOYED AS FUCK) with this streak of grey hair I have coming in RIGHT IN THE FRONT OF MY HEAD. It ain’t cute. I’m not ready to go all Ruby Dee in life. Now I’m not knockin’ Ruby Dee – she is the flyest of the fly ladies that EVAH walked this earth. I’m just sayin’ I ain’t ready. But you know what – it’s hair. And I can dye it if I want to. I can pluck them if I want to. I can hide those evil ass grey hairs in braids if I want to. But they do not determine my self worth. My gap does not determine my self worth. The scale that reads 224 pounds does not determine my self worth. NOTHING EXTERNAL DETERMINES MY SELF WORTH.” Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: My Journey in Self Love – The Full Nelson
“Because it takes brain space and emotional capacity and ENERGY to roll something over and over in your mind, examine your perceived failures, ponder plans of attack. Negative body thoughts that aren’t fleeting or compartmentalized are like apps running in the background of your phone, draining your battery with every passing moment even though you’re not even using them. If you’re anxious about your body all the time, you’re unconsciously allotting resources to a complex and painful cluster of thoughts and feelings. You’re pouring precious energy into something that can suck it down forever and never be full.” The Slow Drain of Body Negativity – The Huffington Post
“I realized that polyamorous relationships, just like monogamous ones, could be healthy or unhealthy. In my case, the problem had been my boyfriend’s condescending, selfish, and gaslighting behavior, compounded with my untreated depression and anxiety. While we had had problems with the open relationship, our relationship was terrible because of him (and me, to an extent), not because of the relationship structure itself. Polyamory itself actually forced me to mature and re-examine my views about relationships in a way that worked well for me.” Three Ways Polyamory Has Helped Me Have Healthier Relationships – xoJane
So many fantastic books, the more you read, the more books you want to read.
Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant*: One of the best books I’ve read this year and I think everyone should read it. Fascinating, insightful, thought-provoking and I kept sharing facts and insights with everyone who was within earshot of me. Marchant is an award-winning scientific journalist, and as such is well-equipped to tackle the topic. She manages to achieve the almost impossible, scientific rigour that nevertheless is open to new discoveries outside the mainstream medical community. (Full review)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (free on Kindle): I listened to the Audible edition, it’s a classic for a reason and I really enjoyed it. I find that a lot of classics are even more enjoyable with a good narrator.
The Bonobo and the Atheist by Franz de Waal: This is a fascinating insight into the lives of our primate relatives, and de Waal makes a powerful case for human morality arising from evolution rather than religion. The author isn’t against religion per se, but rather asks how can both believers and non-believers find inspiration outside religion to lead a good life.I listened to it on Audible, and the stories truly came alive through the narration.
The Seasonal Scrub by Alison May (currently $2.84 on Kindle): Alison May is the writer behind Brocante Home. I’m really falling in love with the idea of making a home that makes your heart sing, a home that feels like a warm and safe hug. May’s books are full of ideas and inspirations to do just that.
Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garment to Fit All Sizes by Elizabeth Zimmermann: When I started listening to knitting podcasts and reading knitting blocks I quickly discovered Elizabeth Zimmermann, or EZ as she’s often referred to, and the high esteem everyone held her in. I only wish I had picked up her books sooner. Knitting Without Tears is a classic for a reason, EZ is ingenious, smart, and absolutely hilarious. I ended up reading long passages to my husband and he laughed almost as hard as I did. Even if you’re not a knitter I would recommend it (although I would have to warn you, you might end up wanting to pick up your own set of needles).
The Brönte Plot by Katherine Reay (currently $2.69 on Kindle)**: I really wanted to love this book, I love the premise, but it never felt better than average and I positively disliked the main character. I’d probably still pick up some of her other books though to see if they might be more my style, since so many people rave about them.
The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory: I listened to the Audible edition recorded by Bianca Amato, and as with Gregory’s other books I find that listening to it only adds to the story. It’s an enjoyable way to learn more of this fascinating time period – although as with all historical fiction, need to take it with a grain of salt. I find myself constantly looking up people or events to learn more.
The Dress by Kate Kerrigan: I loved Kerrigan’s early work, but I’m finding her more recent novels less and less interesting. I liked the premise of the The Dress, but the execution was only so so.
What have you been reading lately? Check out Modern Mrs Darcy for more quick book reviews.
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
*Received an advanced reader’s copy through Blogging for Books. **Received an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Sadly, the dog training industry has become a public health and safety nightmare. We now know that outdated “alpha”/dominance methods and equipment are known causes of aggression and often lead to dog bites. In the US, the field of dog training is completely unregulated and peppered with practitioners with no education in animal behavior or animal welfare. Anyone can purchase a website with cutting edge features, label themselves a “professional” dog trainer or dog training company and charge you fees.” Love is an Action Word – Positively
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-adoption. I have, however, read more than a few stories where couples have adopted oversized families, sometimes over concerns from DCF or other agencies, and have later been found guilty of abuse or neglect. I’ve also read more than a few stories where these oversized families are praised by politicians or given awards, and then turn out to be abusive.” Jonathan and Alison Schumm Abuse Case Raises Questions – Love, Joy, Feminism
“And so now, every time someone attempts to defend hell to me by telling me that God is our father, and that as our children he sometimes needs to punish us, it makes no sense at all. Actually, more than that, the argument itself tends in the opposite direction of what is intended—I can’t help but come to the conclusion that God the Father as described by these defenders of hell is a terrible father. The described style of parenting—with its focus on obedience and punishment—could not be more distant from my own style of parenting.
While I know his defenders also say he loves his children, and would probably say he listens to them through prayer, I can’t get past their continued defense of God’s inherent need to be worshipped and his demand to be obeyed.” Why the “God Is a Father and Must Punish His Children” Defense Makes No Sense to Me – Love, Joy, Feminism
“As an addendum to this – prefacing your creepy, sexually explicit, unsolicited message with ‘I hope you don’t think this is too forward but…’ is not some kind of get out of jail free card that nullifies the grossness of the communication. It merely indicates that you are very aware that the message is inappropriate, but you are just trying to preempt any sort of consequence with a disingenuous social nicety.” Unsolicited – Robot Hugs
“So when I link and highlight and bring on regular contributors, I include lots of races, sizes, abilities, geographic locations, ages, and genders because that’s what I see. This is not diversity – this is reality. It makes me sad to hear that anyone would think I’m doing this to tick boxes, because that means the very narrow vision of humanity presented to us by the entertainment industry is still dominating perception. It has convinced people that if I’m highlighting lots of black women or fat women or older women it has to be some sort of a stunt, that I must have an ulterior motive. But all I want is for you to come here and see a reflection of the true variety our world offers. I want you to come here and be forced to accept that there are lots of women who don’t look a thing like you, and also to see lots of women who look just like you. And that all of them are beautiful and worthy and deserving of respect.” Diversity, Normalcy, and the Real World – Already Pretty
“What does it mean to be comfortable? I get it when you are talking about things like shoes, or clothes, or temperatures and the like, but when it comes to my gender it becomes much more difficult for me to put into words well. I write little bits and blurbs and then quickly erase them as they don’t seem to capture the essence of what I am feeling.
I have tried talking with cisgender folks about it and they really struggle to understand where I am coming from, but I have also written here many times how I feel about my gender, and the inner confusion and discomfort that I feel and occasionally I still get folks that don’t quite understand what it is that I mean.” Comfort? – Unordinary Style
“When you tell little white lies, however harmless they may seem, you are telling your partner, Don’t believe me. Don’t believe me. I will lie to you. I will tell you what you want to hear. Don’t believe me.
Is it any wonder, then, that positive stuff bounces off but negative stuff sticks? You are establishing a precedent that communicates to your partner, straight up, do not trust positive things I say. They are empty words. They do not reflect the reality of what I believe. So how, given that, can we really expect our partners to trust it when we give them affirmation?
Little white lies are corrosive. They communicate a very important truth: I will be dishonest to you to save your feelings.” Some thoughts on little white lies – Franklin Veaux
“Have you ever owned anything? This is why you cannot forgive any of your former lovers. Things like “having chairs” is preventing you from living your best life, and also you should throw away any item of clothing you’re not currently wearing. If it’s not on your skin, you don’t really love it, do you?” How To Get Rid of Clutter and Live Abundantly – The Toast
“Also because we are human, our feelings don’t fit into neat little boxes. We are capable of massive contradictions, which means we’re capable of loving and loathing at the same time. We’re capable of feeling happiness and sadness. We’re capable of feeling insecure and loved. Depending on our histories and experiences, we can find ourselves magnetically drawn to people we know we really shouldn’t love, and we can struggle to conjure any kind of deep attachment to people we know have 100% earned our love and then some.” Why I Don’t Talk About Self-Love – Becoming Who You Are
Chronic Illness & Pain
“I am in pain. Every single day. In every joint in my body. It’s utterly debilitating. I can’t take medication because it doesn’t touch it.
EDS isn’t just about being hypermobile (although daily subluxations are a huge part of it). I have dysfunction of my autonomic nervous system (that thing that regulates all the unconscious processes in our body), I have multiple food sensitivities, and chronic fatigue. I have about an hour a day (on a good day) where I feel like I can function relatively normally.” When It’s More Than ‘Just’ Being Double-Jointed – Natasha Lipman
“Allergies are the type of sensitivity people are generally the most familiar with. In allergies, your body has an inappropriate physical reaction to something that doesn’t bother other people at all. In fact, While the sensitivities of a CSS aren’t exactly allergies, they do involve an inappropriate physical reaction.
In a CSS, we become sensitive to things that are processed by the central nervous system, which can include bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, rough textures, and pressure on the body.
It may also involve certain foods or chemicals. Especially in FMS, the body is sensitized to anything unpleasant, i.e., cold, heat, a tickle or an itch.” Central Sensitivity Syndrome – Difficult to Classify
“Everything we experience — pain included, pain especially — is an expression of who we are and who we have been. If you could magically change everything about your personality, you would become someone else and probably trade all your current problems for new ones — even some diseases and consequences of old injuries might well vanish, obsolete manifestations of your old self.
The hope of personal growth is that, if we change enough, we might just change the part of us that is hurting — without necessarily even understanding the connection. Mysterious problems sometimes just go away when we work on ourselves.” Pain Relief from Personal Growth – Pain Science
“Reganold analyzed 40 years of available data and focused on how organic farming impacts several types of sustainability: productivity, impact on the environment, economic viability and social wellbeing.
“If I had to put it in one sentence, organic agriculture has been able to provide jobs, be profitable, benefit the soil and environment and support social interactions between farmers and consumers,” Reganold says. “In some ways, there are practices in organic agriculture that really are ideal blueprints for us to look at feeding the world in the future.”” Why Organic Food Might Be Worth the High Price – TIME
“However, plentiful recent research now shows that stretching as we know it — the kind of typical stretching that the average person does at the gym, or even the kind of stretching that most athletes do — is mostly a waste of time for most commonly identified goals. For instance, articles published in recent years, reviewing hundreds of studies, have concluded that there isn’t much evidence that any widely practiced form of stretching prevents injury or muscle soreness23 — arguably the single most common goal of stretching. Adding significantly to the credibility of those reviews, a major year 2000 clinical study of many hundreds of soldiers showed no sign of benefit from and even some risks to stretching.” Quite a Stretch – Pain Science
“Most of all she sees cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides, all stark signs of an increased risk of diabetes and heart conditions. “They get what we call metabolic syndrome,” says Sheikholeslami. “They’re overweight. The good cholesterol is low, their triglycerides are high, and that leads to a variety of issues.” Unlike most mobile-clinic visitors, nearly every Care-A-Van patient has health insurance. A full 40%, however, don’t have a primary-care physician. For some, that’s because they’re immigrants who haven’t bothered to navigate the U.S. health care system. Others just can’t break away from the workload. Some patients don’t even get off their mobile devices while being examined.” Is Silicon Valley bad for your health? – Fortune
“Let’s go back to Depp. Far as I can see? If he did abuse her, you bet he felt justified. His mum had just died. Don’t know if you’ve ever been through grief but let me tell you, there is a time after a major loss when nobody can do anything right. Your reactions to everything are completely out of whack and yeah, you can definitely internally justify doing things you shouldn’t. I’ve been hearing elsewhere that he was jealous over Heard having close lesbian friends. If that ain’t a cliché- straight guy can’t handle bi partner’s queer friends/exes/self- I don’t know what is. And let’s not even get started on the guy’s acknowledged history of drug and alcohol abuse. I’m not saying he definitely did it. I will say this: domestic abuse is common. Rich, powerful white men get away with abusing others all the time. Women who report abuse are almost never believed. If you start by believing women when they report abuse, you’ll be right most of the time. Speaking for myself? I believe Amber.” What Do We Expect Abusers to Do? – Consider the Tea Cosy
“Humans are cyclical, we are part of nature. The more we recognise these cycles, the more we can liberate ourselves from the guilt of not being productive enough. As humans, we have our own personal energy cycles; how we feel during days, nights, times of year, hormonal cycles, stressful or joyful periods and stages of life.
We can have times of energy and times of needing more rest. Maybe we are more energetic in the mornings, or more tired when bringing up small children.” Productivity and Pain: A Manifesto for our Humanity – Grace Quantock
“Some people think that you cannot love yourself and be on a weight loss journey at the same time, because self-love means no change. This is wrong.
Some people believe that you can’t love yourself unless you are on a weight loss journey, because self love for them means getting as skinny as society wants you to be.
This is also wrong.
For me, self-love and weight loss are two things that can exist independently, but that do work really well together, if you do them right.” Can You Lose Weight and Still Love Yourself – Paleo for Women
“Making peace with my belly is still a work in progress (as self-compassion is anyways, it’s not somewhere we succeed and get to never to struggle again…it’s ebb and flow) but by inviting myself into the frame and sending myself love…sideways…the change is happening. I know this is what changes those critical moments, that the more I create a new compassionate visual dialogue between myself and my body, that voice gets stronger & sings louder than the critical voice.” From Sideways Critique to Sideways Compassion – Be Your Own Beloved
“These kinds of habits are particularly helpful to me, because the truth is, I can get lost in my own head, and become so focused on crossing something off my to-do list that I neglect to make time to connect with the people who are most important to me. In the tumult of everyday life, I find it all too easy to overlook what really matters.” 5 Quick, Easy Habits that Have Actually Strengthened My Relationships – Gretchen Rubin
“This said, I also don’t think it’s wrong for children to attempt to exert some form of control over their surroundings. Yes, we as parents need to teach our children that they are not the only people in existence, and that they need to respect other people’s needs as well. But part of this has to involve teaching them that their needs matter too. And children have so little actual control that it’s no wonder they sometimes try to gain some in whatever means they can, especially when they are being ignored by their parent-people. I find that one way to prevent “tantrum” behavior is to make it clear that I, as their parent, am listening to them and care about their needs. Because they know that I don’t say “no” unless I have a real reason to, they’re more likely to believe that I have a reason when I do say “no.”” No Greater Joy on “Tantrums”: Deny Your Children’s Lust – Love, Joy, Feminism
“Whenever someone claims there are “two kinds of people in the world” – extroverts and introverts, realists and idealists, optimists and pessimists – you can be pretty sure they’re oversimplifying. But here’s one that’s useful nonetheless: in your relationships with other people, you’re almost certainly an overfunctioner or an underfunctioner. Faced with a challenge, you either switch into fixing mode, taking control, attacking the to-do list, and offering supposedly helpful advice; or you pull back, pleading for assistance, hoping others will take responsibility, and zone out. Put that way, it sounds like OFs are the productive (if slightly irritating) ones, while UFs are freeloading losers. But the true situation’s much murkier, and more interesting, than that.” – Do you overfunction or underfunction in a relationship? – The Guardian
“You don’t owe anyone anything. You get to choose.
You get to express your love in a way that only you can.
You get to live your life for YOU, and still radiate gratitude for those around you.
You are allowed to renegotiate relationships in order to free yourself from the tight restriction of resentment.
You are allowed to show up as you are – and tolerate other people’s reactions to you.
You get to decide what it means to be good.” You Don’t Owe Anything to Anyone – Mara Glatzel
“Here’s the deal. I don’t care about bookstores. I care about writers. In fact, readers should care about writers more than bookstores because no writers? Well no real point in bookstores now is there? Because if a bookstore has no inventory, no point to its existence, so I feel we are wise to care about writers first…bookstores next.
Want to support the arts? Pay artists. Want to support books? Pay writers. It is simple. Do this? Bookstores will do just fine. Before we go any further, some education…” PAY THE WRITER – Pirates, Used Bookstores & Why Writers Need to Stand Up for What’s Right – Kristen Lamb
“Which leads me to a rather humbling thought that can apply to many aspects of our human development and our strive for change: It can take moments to pull apart an industry in favor of what we think is a cheaper or more efficient alternative but, when we realize too late that it was kinda pretty good to start with, it can take years to put it all back again.
So support these guys, they’ve acknowledged the beauty of industry and are doing something pretty noble with their time on earth to bring it back. We should solute them.” The Return of the Small Batch Business – Heddels
“No, knitting and crochet are not “just for grandmothers.” They never have been. Moreover, many grandmothers (mine included) hated both. Many grandmothers (especially the current crop) have never tried either.
And why, if an activity were particular to grandmothers, would that be an issue? Do you consider old age a contagious disease? Have you got a deep-seated problem with grandmothers? Would you like the number of a good therapist?
If you mean to celebrate the diversity of our community, please do so without insulting my grandma. It won’t be difficult. We are everywhere. We contain multitudes. We are all ages, sizes, races, faiths, nationalities. We are rich and poor. We are liberal and conservative. We are women, we are men.” Franklin Habit’s Friendly Three-Point Message to Journalists Who Seek to Write About Knitting and Crochet – Lion Brand Notebook
“But jumping to the support of “voiceless” Afghan women while telling American feminists to stop complaining about rape on college campuses is telling of an even bigger patriarchal mindset. Disguised in this sentiment is the notion that women deserve protection and support in so far as they remain “voiceless victims” to physically violent crimes. However, the moment they find the ability to speak up and demand equality- real equality that will dismantle all patriarchy, not just the most overtly violent patriarchy- their voices are no longer worth paying attention to.
In other words, if there is no need for a male savior but rather for male accountability, women’s voices are irrelevant.” Dear American misogynists: Afghan women are not oppressed for you – Medium
“When an intense relationship falls apart…
Grief is normal.
Withdrawal from the drug of attraction and passionate love and drama and conflict is normal.
Guilt is normal.
Feeling at loose ends about what to do with all of the time and space she took up in your life is normal.
Anger is normal.
Longing is normal.
Remembering only the good parts when you feel low is normal.
Second-guessing everything is normal.
Intrusive thoughts of her and the relationship are normal.
(Relief, numbness, or whatever emotions you actually feel are also normal – there are a lot of normals!)
All of these things are normal for a while, and then you find a new normal.” #786: Trapped by a doomed love – Captain Awkward
“Then he stopped even trying to use words, which is how so many of these stories go. “But how was I supposed to know that she wasn’t into it? Poor confused me!” says every dude who tries it on with an unwilling or unresponsive acquaintance or friend or date. Sometimes I think dudes freak out about calls for explicit consent, verbal consent, enthusiastic consent, “yes means yes,” style consent because to be honest, they can think back to drunken escapades where they can’t be 100% sure that the other person wanted it because they never fucking bothered to ask (or, worse), and it makes them feel guilty as hell. “If that’s not okay, then that means I may have assaulted someone. That can’t be right!” Since no one likes feeling bad about themselves, they push back on the entire idea instead of, I dunno, listening to women? Or resolving to ask in the future or any measure that would help there be more good, non-coercive sex in the world. “Don’t be silly! I can’t possibly be expected to ask the person who is right in front of me with whom I am planning to do an extremely intimate and vulnerable thing! That would ruin the mood! I’m sure it would ruin something (like my sense of entitlement to sex when I want it)!” Your friend stopped using words on purpose because he knew what the answer would be. He didn’t ask, “Hey, could the trip out to my house be a date-sort-of-thing?” because he knew that then you wouldn’t come. He didn’t ask before touching you in the cab. He wouldn’t get out of the bed and kept pulling you back even when you got out of it. He stopped short of raping you, thank heaven, but he used every single tactic that rapists use – isolating their victim, alcohol, not taking no for an answer, using size and strength and manipulation and bullying to get their way. What a fucking repulsive human being.” – #823: Another Day, Another Creepy Dude Who Doesn’t Deserve Friends – Captain Awkward
“When I boldly proclaim “Shut up, I’m amazing,” (which I have continued to do on a regular basis), I help myself live into that reality. I help myself truly feel amazing, truly feel like I am capable, and truly feel like I can confidently conquer whatever I put my mind to.” Repeat After Me: “Shut up, I’m Amazing!” – Paleo for Women
“I didn’t realize how much, I, advocate for all things self-care, was still running myself ragged and spreading myself too thin. I was pretty shocked when I found myself with, in fact, even less time than before. Because I had made commitments before my word of the year chose me.
It’s just not what we choose in each moment, it’s what we choose to layer that soon catches up with us.”My Word for 2015: What it Was & How it Changed my Life – Christy Tending
“Female pain might be perceived as constructed or exaggerated”: We saw this from the moment we entered the hospital, as the staff downplayed Rachel’s pain, even plain ignored it. In her essay, Jamison refers back to “The Girl Who Cried Pain,” a study identifying ways gender bias tends to play out in clinical pain management. Women are “more likely to be treated less aggressively in their initial encounters with the health-care system until they ‘prove that they are as sick as male patients,’” the study concludes—a phenomenon referred to in the medical community as “Yentl Syndrome.” How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously – The Atlantic
“And then I became a writer, and soon needed my own advice. Now my butt feels numb half the time. I creak and crackle almost continuously. My neck has a nasty crick three days out of five. My shoulders are hunched forward like they’re being pulled on by teams of oxen. And ominous aches flicker around my body like brush fires.
Chairs are bad news. Sitting a lot is bad news. Why and what can you do? In this article, I’ll review the science and health effects of a sedentary life, but with a focus on the musculoskeletal effects — the aches and pains and stiffness.” Sitting Too Much? The Trouble With Chairs – Pain Science
“Putting pressure on the abdomen squeezes internal organs, which can push acid from the stomach into the esophagus. That’s why weight gain can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, and tight undergarments can do the same thing, says Jay Kuemmerle, a gastroenterologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “It’s really just plumbing,” he says. “For someone who has reflux disease or is prone to reflux, wearing tight garments may exacerbate those symptoms.” Tight clothes can also worsen the discomforts of irritable bowel syndrome and urinary incontinence, he says. As for the Jessica Alba-endorsed “corset diet,” Kuemmerle doesn’t recommend shapewear for weight loss.” Shapewear comes with health risks if worn for too long – LA Times
“I knew she was hooked, because she was picking up on something tea lovers have known all along: The same vocabulary we use for coffee, spirits, and wine—tannins and fruit undertones and terroir—are all just as applicable to tea. In that black walnut-peach skin moment, she understood that tea is something worth paying attention to, not just a hot drink for when you’re under the weather.” The Non-Judgmental Guide to Getting Seriously Into Tea – Serious Eats
“Across Sweden, only around 1% of employees work more than 50 hours a week, one of the lowest rates in the OECD, where 13% is the average. By law, Swedes are given 25 vacation days, while many large firms typically offer even more. Parents get 480 days of paid parental leave to split between them. Most offices are empty after 5pm.
“It’s a very different experience to when I worked in the UK and clients wanted to stay in touch on weekends and during the evening,” says Canadian-born Ameek Grewal, 29, who relocated from London to Citibank’s Nordic headquarters in Stockholm a year ago.” The truth about Sweden’s short working hours – BBC News
“For a lubricant to claim that it is the only product on the entire market that can offer a 100% protection rate is not only wholly inaccurate but also incredibly dangerous for anyone who believes the claims. If you do want to know what methods are recommended beyond condoms to reduce the risk of infection please check out this link from Aids.gov. Do not buy this lubricant. In addition to making these horrendous claims, I Believed After Using Ithas consistently refused requests to know what ingredients go in to their lubricant. Why? Because we wouldn’t believe their claims if we knew what was in it. Gee, I wonder why.” Some Thoughts On: Prolube and Scam Products – Emmeline Peaches Reviews
“The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act states that abortion cannot be accessed unless a person’s life is at risk, a risk that medical professionals have time and time again described as difficult and dangerous to quantify. The HSE Consent Policy as outlined clearly in the Maternity Strategy document reserves the right to take high court injunctions against women if the health of the foetus is at risk. Yet, if a woman’s health in pregnancy is at risk, under Irish law she does not get to decide that that risk to her health is too much to bear, and that she would end the pregnancy. This is equality? How is risk to the health or life of the foetus quantified? There is a growing body of research which would suggest that stress on the mother can be harmful to the foetus. Threatening women with legal action to carry out a non consensual procedure is hardly conducive to reducing stress in pregnancy. Promises to improve perinatal mental health and assistance to women who experience birth trauma ring hollow when forced procedures and interventions are the reality.
It’s not consent if you’re afraid to say no.” Consent in the context of the 8th amendment – Parents for Choice
“The fact is, a 14-year-old girl may be capable of agreeing to sex with a 49-year-old man, but she doesn’t have the emotional and mental maturity to consent. I was 25 before I realized that every man I’d slept with as a teenager was a pedophile. It seemed to me that since I’d courted the attention, that I was fully culpable. What teenager believes she is not mentally or emotionally capable of full consent? I thought I was an adult, although when I look at the picture of myself from the time period above, I see a child.
I thought I was the exception for these men, the girl so precocious and advanced that it superseded social norms. I thought that I was “older than my chronological age.”
It never occurred to me as a young sexually active teen that the adult men I had relationships with may have been manipulating me, that they had designs and motives I couldn’t see from my limited child’s perspective.” The Myth of the Teenage Temptress: Or Why A Young Girl Can Not Consent to Sex With an Adult Man – xoJane
“The Biggest Rule for Everyone Remember that at the center of this is a small person who is, at best, semi-responsible for the way they interact with the world. Be a good model for that small person of how a responsible, sensible, compassionate human being behaves. On a plane, realize that the baby doesn’t know how to pop their ears and doesn’t exactly want to cry, and be a little sympathetic. In a restaurant, recognize that your kid might be crying because they’re really, really uncomfortable or unhappy and that the kind thing to do would be to take them home. Remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you — the diner who feels entitled to a silent meal; the parent who wants to go wherever, whenever, under whatever circumstances at all; or even, for that matter, the baby, who is one of 630 million like it in the world and is definitely more important to you than to anyone else around you. You don’t have to be a saint, or a martyr, or some kind of other religious imagery implying patience, since I seem to be on a roll here. Just… don’t be an asshole.” Kids in Public: And Thus Have I Provided You a Definitive List of Rules – Feministe
“Let’s start with the obvious thing first: the fact that you’re a virgin really has sweet fuck-all to do with anything. Being a virgin at 25 is relatively uncommon but hardly rare or unusual; it happens far more often than you’d think, for men and women. Whether you’re a virgin or not has nothing to do with your worth as a person, with your potential or even an indication of anything other than the fact that you just haven’t had sex yet. Period, end of. The people who make the most fuss about a virgin being a shameful thing isn’t women, it’s other men; the idea of sex as demarcator of personal worthiness is part of the whole toxic masculinity bullshit I’m always talking about. Most of the women you’re going to encounter in your day to day life not only aren’t going to know whether or not your a virgin (unless you decide to tell them) but frankly, most of them aren’t going to give a shit. 9 times out of 10, most of the people in your life really aren’t all that invested in your status as having had sex or not, and the ones who give you shit for it are proving themselves to be assholes. Now, what are the people in your life going to care about more? Your attitude. The fact of the matter is, folks prefer being around positive people and avoid being around negative people because negative people tend to infect others with their negativity. It’s generally unpleasant to be around someone who responds to a “Hey, how’s your morning?” with a grumble and a fuck-off scowl. Same with the guy on the bus who looks like he’s imagining the best way to rip out the lungs of the next motherfucker who talks to him – most people aren’t going to want to deal with him, so they give ’em a wide berth. Someone who’s generally smiling and upbeat is much more pleasant to be around.” Ask Dr. NerdLove: I’m a Shy Virgin. Does This Make Me Creepy? – Dr NerdLove
“Like a focus on obedience, a focus on virginity is short-sighted and doesn’t actually prepare a young person for adulthood. And that’s a problem, because our job as parents is to prepare our children for adulthood. Whether your child was obedient as a kid isn’t going to matter jack shit if they’re unable to make their own decisions or communicate, cooperate, and compromise with others as adults. And similarly, whether your child remained a virgin until marriage (or high school graduation, or what have you) is so far beyond irrelevant if they grow up to enter abusive sexual relationships because you never taught them about things like consent or bodily autonomy. In many ways our parenting must be future-focused, not present-focused.” Your Child’s Virginity Is None of Your Business – Love, Joy, Feminism
“Yet, while we’re busy focusing in on the emotional states of others, we usually don’t pay much attention to something equally, if not more important—our own emotional reactions to these social encounters. Why is this so important? Because emotions are highly contagious, and if you catch a bad bug, the consequences can be life-threatening..” Emotions Are Contagious – Choose Your Company Wisely – Psychology Today
“We all have a handful of errands + tasks that we know we should do.
And yet? We don’t do them because we think it makes us feel better
to ignore them. But they’re always there, lurking in the background,
nipping at our heels + sucking the joy out of a potentially relaxing
evening with our favorite TV show or book.” End the Energy Leaks and Stop Procrastinating – Danielle Dowling
“Reversing autoimmune disease through diet and lifestyle is something no one can do for us. We’re the ones who decide the food we eat, what time we go to bed, how hard we push ourselves, whether we take time to de-stress. Yet, we don’t walk this world alone. We’re surrounded by friends, family and co-workers who are powerful influences on our lives. It’s a lot easier to stay on the healing path if we’re supported by those people, rather than thwarted by them. So, how do we get that support?” How Do I Get the Support of Family and Friends? – Phoenix Helix
“Disability and illness can seem scary, messy, different. People with illnesses are supported in wanting to heal – but it’s subjective: Who can say four limbs are best? That walking upright is the goal? So often, support is offered with the underlying assumptions that “help” or “healing” are universally defined. That the end game is always, “cured” or “normal” or a return to life pre-diagnosis. It’s crucial to acknowledge and examine our own fear and prejudices about what truly constitutes “health” and “illness” before trying to help, thus avoiding the trap of trying to “clean up” all of the messiness, oddness or “brokenness” of people. Sometimes, just moving forward is enough. Being “different” may always be a part of the equation. And different… well, different is not synonymous with “bad” or incomplete.” Releasing Perfection in Healing – Grace Quantock
“Last April, the council created a “Stitch Away Stress” campaign in honor of National Stress Awareness Month. Dr. Herbert Benson, a pioneer in mind/body medicine and author of “The Relaxation Response,” says that the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
But unlike meditation, craft activities result in tangible and often useful products that can enhance self-esteem. I keep photos of my singular accomplishments on my cellphone to boost my spirits when needed.” The Health Benefits of Knitting – NY Times
“There’s no shortage of discussion about the factors that contribute to health and how to optimize and improve it. But what is health, really? How do we define it? And can the way we define health actually influence our experience of it?” What is Health? – Chris Kresser
“You may have heard the term “hangry” before — the word for the state of being both hungry and angry. As in: “I’m so hangry that I yelled at my boss. Someone please pass me a banana.”
But it’s not just weird slang. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that being hangry is a completely real thing — and that low blood sugar leads to bad behavior.” The science of “hangry” – how low blood sugar makes you a monster – Vox
“We all know that one of the easiest ways to save money is to eat at home instead of going out. But the truth is, when your food is bland and monotonous it can be hard to work up the willpower to do just that. With a little cooking know-how, though, and a shelf full of flavors to choose from, you can create fabulous home-cooked meals for pennies on the restaurant dollar. You’ll find it easier to stick to your budget and you might even prefer your home-cooked meals to eating out!” How Condiments and Spices Can Save Money – Little House Living
Cure is fascinating, insightful, thought-provoking and I kept sharing facts and insights with everyone who was within earshot of me.
Marchant is an award-winning scientific journalist, and as such is well-equipped to tackle the topic. She manages to achieve the almost impossible, scientific rigour that nevertheless is open to new discoveries outside the mainstream medical community.
Using virtual reality to treat pain
Powerful associations to trick the brain into gaining stronger benefits and less side effects on less medication
Dangers of loneliness, social isolation & stress
Mindfulness & beliefs
While much of this research is still in its early stages, it is so incredibly important and hope-giving. I truly believe this book has food for thought for all of us, and especially so for those of us already dealing with illness in one form or another. I whole-heartedly recommend Cure.
*I received an advanced reader’s copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review*
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
Usually I sort my reviews in chronological order based upon when I read them. This time however I am letting two excellent book “skip the line”. I have published full reviews on both of them on the blog, and I highly recommend you check them out.
Love Sick by Cory Martin**: Love Sick is both funny and thought-provoking. Even if you don’t have a chronic illness, or know anyone who has one, I would highly recommend you read it. Because sooner or later either you, or someone you love will be dealing with chronic illness. It’s one of the more difficult facts of life, but the better we get about talking openly about these things, the better prepared we all are – and the better equipped we will be to deal with it ourselves and support our loved ones.(Read my full review + interview with the author)
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy) by Laurie Halse Anderson: I bought this from Audible when it was on sale. I really wanted to like it, an African-American slave girl at the brink of the American revolution seeking freedom for her and her younger sister – what’s not to like? But I just couldn’t get into it, I found the protagonist childish and unrealistic, and while I’m aware the novel is aimed at a younger audience I can’t truly recommend it as being better than average.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: I listened to the always wonderful annotated audiobook on Craft Lit, Heather Ordover does an excellent job as always. Even if you’re not sure you like Austen or classics, I really recommend you give Craft Lit a chance.
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern**: Ahern is one of my favourite chick lit writers and I love dystopian YA novels. Needless to say I was beyond thrilled to get the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy of Ahern’s new dystopian YA novel Flawed. The premise of a world where everyone strives for perfection to avoid being branded as Flawed was enticing and fascinating. Unfortunately the execution fell short for me, and didn’t live up to the standard I have come to expect from Ahern.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter (The Cousin’s War) by Philippa Gregory: I listened to the Audible edition, and while this isn’t fantastic, I enjoyed the chance to get to know one of the minor character’s in The Cousin’s War on a deeper level.
What have you been reading lately? Check out Modern Mrs Darcy for more quick book reviews.
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.
*Received an advanced reader’s copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. **Received an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.