Life Lately

The past month or so has been a bit of a crazy whirlwind.

It feels weird to have not mentioned this yet, but I have a new job! I started just before the end of March and in many ways I think I just didn’t want to jinx myself. I’m working as a social media specialist on a real marketing team at a grown up company. I’m doing what I love, and more! The largest company I’ve worked for was about 135 people, so it’s exciting to work for a company of about 400 people, but also incredibly overwhelming to start out! I’ve joined a bunch of committees, introduced myself to probably at least 100 people, presented at a conference in front of a group of 40 or so people and all at the same time, still trying to create a cohesive work plan for myself. This the the first time someone has ever had this role at the company and so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, plus convince a lot of people that social media matters. Needless to say, my introverted side has been crying out for a lot of alone time! My body has been rebelling and I even got a stomach flu, something I can’t ever remember getting. It’s definitely been a rough month, but I think I’ve gotten through it pretty well!

IMG_3135There has been a lot of wine, a lot of lasagna and pizza, and a lot of early bed times. The plus side is that I can walk to work now… so I’ve been burning off all these calories! IMG_3142IMG_3159Brenna came to visit! It was such an awesome thing to see her and show her around the city. Plus, we ate fried chicken one night, brisket one morning, a couple mimosas/bloody mary’s and THE BEST pancakes of my life. We were both pretty exhausted, so apart from eating, we did a lot of watching Call the Midwife curled up on the couch too!

IMG_3161 It’s been so wonderful to be able to walk around downtown for lunch breaks. There’s so much more to do and explore (and eat). Everything feels much cleaner and safer than the last neighborhood I worked in!

IMG_3204IMG_3206 I’ve been pretty antisocial and wretched about getting together with friends for the past month, but I did manage to get brunch with my friend Aaron and sunbathe at Golden Gardens on one particularly beautiful weekend!

IMG_3266 My mom was scouring Craigslist and found the CUTEST bookshelf for the apartment! So much better than the wire shelving.

IMG_3225 IMG_3227 The conference I presented at was held just off the Gorge at a winery and I got to spend the night in a yurt! It was such a cool experience, even if it WAS pretty overwhelming!

Read This Book About Boobs

breasts_front_cover_web(Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams)

Have you ever heard someone call another person a “boob”? I’m guilty of it! I’ve definitely said “Don’t be such a boob” before. In that, I made “boob” synonymous with “stupid” “dweeb” “idiot”. How stupid is that? I HAVE boobs and they are fantastic. I’m also a huge fan of other women’s boobs. I love that Marilyn Monroe said, “The trouble with censors is that they worry if a girl has cleavage. They ought to worry if she hasn’t any.” So why would I insult my own anatomy, my own body?

Do you know why we are called “mammals”? Maybe you guessed where I’m going with this: mammary glands. Oh, and breast feeding drove the development of palate and tongue muscles. So basically without boobs we’d still be grunting at each other and lacking all forms of spoken communication. That’s pretty cool.

The_Female_Nude_04There are downsides to being a big breasted lady. Back problems. Never being able to wear spaghetti straps. String bikinis become a hazard. Plus, bigger bras are a lot more expensive (Wonderbra sales top $70 million annually). The big kicker? Ladies with more estrogen are more likely to cheat on our mates and are more likely to get breast cancer. (Small PSA: Marijuana inhibits testosterone, so male stoners tend to get man boobs and have an increased chance of breast cancer)

8-year-old Morgan was in a terribly awkward phase. This was the year I chose glasses “because they make me look like Harry Potter” and wore a green windbreaker every day. Adults would come up to be and ask me about my unfortunately rather large boobs, or worse, tease me about them. In efforts to try and hide them, I wore two sports bras. I repeatedly asked myself “Why on EARTH would anyone want these things?!” Well, apparently, they really, really do. In 2009, 289,000 women got boob jobs to enlarge their breasts. I know it’s cliche, but we need go back to Barbie. 1 in 100,000 women naturally have the dimensions of Barbie, while only 1 in 50 men have the dimensions of Ken. That’s f****d up!

6e9f0fed684b61629052c932de4aeb50Humans take longer to reach sexual maturity than any other primate, but the age of sexual maturity has decreased about 3 months per decade since 1850. Why is this scary? The longer we hold off puberty, the taller and stronger we will be and the more likely our offspring will be healthy. The human brain takes about two decades to fully mature and humans need this time to grow our minds. Sex hormones in puberty (estrogen for girls) seal the bones from growing more. I’m a perfect example of this. I grew like a weed and was the second tallest girl in my 6th grade class. I never grew an inch after age 12. Many studies have found a link between early puberty and breast cancer. In fact, if you get your period before age 12, you are 50% more likely to get breast cancer than if you get your period at age 16.

Breasts are the only human organ that develop long after birth. Because of this, they are more susceptible to hormonal changes, as well at changes in the environment. There’s been a lot of research that lends to the idea that breast feeding and pregnancy is actually better for preventing breast cancer, and the sooner the better too. Women who have a child before 20 are half as likely to get breast cancer than a women who waits until her 30’s to have children.  They’ve actually noticed that a lot of virgins have a higher risk of breast cancer, with a striking population of nuns.

cc993684ad88d7e20781cbe7e635bb2fThough women have it worse, men suffer too. For every 100 women to have breast cancer, one man will have breast cancer too. The incidence of breast cancer has grown 1-2% every year since 1960 for both men and women.

A few more facts:

1 in 8 (12.2%) women will have breast cancer.

Most people don’t know that only about 10% of breast cancer relates to family history, and 80% of women with the BRCA gene (brought to even more attention by Angelina Jolie) will get breast cancer. The younger the BRCA gene women are, the more likely they are to have breast cancer as well. So that means their chances are getting worse.

White women are slightly more likely to have breast cancer than African American and are much more likely than Asian or Hispanic.

Women in the United States and the Netherlands have the highest numbers of breast cancer, the lowest is in Japan. Women in China tend to get breast cancer on average 10 years earlier than in the United States.

Women with the densest breasts (ratio of fat to glandular tissue) are 4-5 times more likely to get breast cancer and 90% of women don’t know that they have dense breasts (tends to be found in women who haven’t had children, eat hight fat diets, drink lots of wine or have taken hormone therapy).

Mammograms miss 20% of tumors.

There’s only one known environmental cause: radiation.

Scared out of your mind yet? I know I am. Not only do I have big boobs, but I’m a white woman who isn’t planning on having children and went through puberty early. (I also like fatty foods and wine, thank you) If you’re reading this, chances are you are the proud owner of a pair of fine boobies, or love someone with a fine pair. I’m not saying that this book didn’t scare me, it did. It also made me paranoid about a lot of environmental factors that she mentions in the book that I didn’t mention here. BUT, I feel empowered. I know SO MUCH MORE after reading this book. Please read it. Please share it with your friends. It’s so incredibly important that you do. You can buy it HERE. 

16 Foods I Want To Be Eating

It figures that I get the worst stomach bug as soon as I start reading “50 Foods, The Essentials of Good Taste”. Usually I get cravings when I read books about good food… but not this time! I haven’t had a stomach flu since I was a little girl, I honestly can’t really remember having one! I spent 5 days feeling weak, pitiful and pretty gosh darn pathetic. I love food more than almost anything and I’m prone to getting hangry if I don’t eat for a few hours. This flu kept me out of the eating real foods game for a few days. Regardless, this book was pretty darn amazing and being bed-ridden on my own prescription definitely helped me plow right through the pages.

I’d never heard of the writer before, but the way he writes is obnoxious and pompous in the best kind of way. You get the sense that he can write in this snobby tone because he actually knows what he’s talking about. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he had to say (though he did list an awful lot of cheese, what’s that all about? gross!) and finding fun tidbits I wanted to share.

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-Baguette means “stick” and is prone to drying out quickly because of the bubbled interior and strong crust exterior. Because of this, people used to buy baguettes as a daily luxury. French flour is said to be better than American bleached flour. So much so, that bleached flour is illegal in France!

-After reading his description on the taste of Boletes, a woodsy fungus, I’m dying to try them! He recommends steaming in foil with salt, or sautéing in butter or oil. He even recommends grilling them over coals or stuffing them with bread crumbs, egg, onion and cheese.

-Poor Cabbage is so overlooked by so many and I have no idea why! So many cultures use cabbage in traditional meals, that you know it must be good! As an avid cabbage-lover, I never knew that red and green cabbage flavor profiles aren’t all that different, and the longer you cook cabbage the more it results in a sulfur taste so a quick boil is best. The best sauerkraut (people either love or hate sauerkraut) is made after the Sept-Oct harvest. Pack the shredded cabbage with salt, which draws water to form a brine for the kraut to ferment in for about 3 weeks. Kimchi (one of the only spicy foods I will eat) is typically made during the summer and eaten quickly, or make in November to keep all winter long.

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-I’m not usually a melon fan, and I’ve never once craved a melon until reading his chapter on Cantaloupe! How to choose a good cantaloupe? Smell, and look for a yellow or brown color.

-I’ve never had caviar. I’ve always wanted to at least try it, but the occasion to never really came around. After reading his poetry of the slight pop caviar gives in your mouth and the salty sweet taste, I MUST try caviar. Preferably as soon as possible! Caviar comes from sturgeon only and wild caviar is harder and harder to find (and expensive), making farmed options a better, more economical, bet.

-Chickens don’t actually start to have taste until they are 9 weeks old, which makes the whole “fatten chickens and sell them asap” plan of the food industry work even less in our favor. Dry-plucking is better, but more rare because it has to be done by hand, and it’s important that the birds stay calm as they die, with no surge of fear or adrenaline.

-65-75% Chocolate is most popular and indications of good chocolate are a reddish brown color, a bright shine and a good snap. Chocolate loses flavor over time, try to use it within a few months. Also, very surprising to me, most wines don’t pair well with chocolate at all.

-Blue crabs are best when from Maryland or Virginia and turn red when cooked. I’ve never had soft shell crab before, but after reading this book’s description, I feel like I must!

-Olive oil must be created in clean environments, because they absorb the aromas and flavors around them. Many people think rancid, old olive oil is what real olive oil should taste like because it closer resembles the taste of eating olives. It’s important to buy olive oil with low free acidity and each region has a very different taste. Olive trees don’t grow tall, but they grow wide and sometimes sprout other trunks. The older the tree, the better the olives and olives should be picked while still green or just turning color and pressed right away. Greener oil usually has more flavor and lasts longer.

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-Fatter Oysters are usually more sweet and less salty because they are grown in less salty areas.  Dry shells are bad, tight shells are good. When ordering, you could ask for firm, briny, metallic or mild, nutty, soft oysters. The French leave the oysters attached to the shell, but if you do remove, be careful not to scramble the oyster. The best season for eating oysters is when the water falls below 42 degrees and in Seattle from September-April. The Olympia oyster is small, about the size of a half dollar, and is considered one of the best oysters.

-I am not a fan of cheese, but I absolutely love Parmigiano-Reggiano. There’s a lot of rules around this special cheese: it must be made within Parma, weigh 66 pounds minimum, made by two types of cows, fed only hay and grass. Proteins and fat are higher in fall milk, and therefore have a richer taste and keep longer. The best buy is an older cheese, 2-3 years old.

-I’ve written a lot about Pasta, I know. This book recommends visiting Parma and Bologna to find the best cooking in all of Italy (so… when can I go?) and now dried pasta has become more accepted across Italy. Sealed in a plastic package, pasta will last indefinitely. North American unbleached flour has good flavor, but is more difficult to roll thin.

-Salmon holds freshness longer than other fish, but tastes best when eaten right away. The fish should still be firm and show no signs of drying. Very fresh salmon actually has an unfish-y and somewhat cucumber-y scent. Salmon actually pairs very well with cucumber and foods like lemon, dill, potatoes and onions. White or rose wines pair best, but surprisingly very fresh salmon tastes best with reds. Summer-Fall is salmon season.

-European plums are oval and sweeter, while Japanese/Chinese plums around rounder, juicier and tarter (I prefer the latter) with a clingstone.

-Pigs are the same species as wild boar. Wild boar has a delicious meat, but grows tougher and stronger-flavored as it gets older and tastes best if it’s less than a year old. While boar tastes better braised, cooking pork longer drys the meat out and takes away the flavor.

-Suppli is a street food in Rome that is breaded, deep fried balls of rice mixed with egg, butter, Parmigiano with mozzarella. YUM.

Why Do Fools

IMG_3210I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot lately (hm, I wonder why) and doing a lot of soul searching on my most recent one. Well, if I’m being honest, I’m not soul searching as much as replaying the same bits over and over again in my head.

I thought it would help to read someone else’s perspective on love, and I absolutely found that in “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” by Anouchka Grose. It’s a snarky, funny read written about a topic that’s pretty… depressing. Every page begs the question, “What is the point of falling in love?” She brings up some great ideas that struck me, hopefully you might find them interesting too!

-Attachment is self-seeking, which means we are looking to another person to fulfill needs that we are perfectly capable of on our own. Someone we’ve all come to the conclusion that we need someone to “fill” our missing pieces (ever heard the phrase ‘you complete me’?) which is impossible.

-Romantic trysts began with aristocrats and was seen as more romantic the more “secret” it was, with lots of sneaking around involved. Obstacles are the point in romantic love. (Maybe why romantic comedies end at Happily Ever After?)

-Freud had a theory that man and women have a deep-rooted compulsion to repeat bad relationships because we choose partners that upset us in familiar ways. Why do we do this? 1. We may want to prove the same thing to ourselves each time it happens (I’m so wonderful/I’m so awful). 2. We may want to make it different this time, change what we could not in the past.

-There’s 3 theories on crying. (Ps: humans are the only known mammal who cries for emotional reasons) 1. The chemistry of emotional tears is different than stubbed toe or allergy tears. Perhaps we cry to release these chemicals out of our body to feel better. 2. Crying makes you feel physically worse. So perhaps we cry to make ourselves feel worse so that when we stop crying we “feel better”. (Scary thought) And 3. We cry because we want people to help us, we want something from someone. This doesn’t explain crying alone, but it does explain when people publicly cry.

-Many stalkers tend to stalk people who were nice to them at a moment of weakness. This person has answered a need without having to be asked, and they are rewarded with cruel letters and phone calls.

-Brain scans of lovers in a state of infatuation match brain scans of those plagued with OCD

-Babies are born helpless and need several years of care. In order to deal with these years of need, the neurotransmitters released in breast-feeding from the mother and the baby match the ones in sexual love.

-A study in Britain found that every 2:42 a couple gets married and every 3:24 a couple gets divorced. 41% are first time marriages, 59% are remarriages. 60% of men cheat and 40% of women cheat. The average cost of a British wedding is 16,000 pounds.

-Until the 90’s, everyone thought gibbons were the one species that was unfailing loyal, until genetic testing proved quite the opposite. Female gibbons chases off other females to defend their food and semen supply, while man gibbons don’t mind being controlled because they get to eat and breed as they please.

Like I said, pretty depressing. I kept waiting for a conclusion, some idea of what she personally got out of all this research, but got no answers. The book was simply a way for her to find out the facts, process it, and then fall in love anyway. A pretty interesting conclusion all in its own, if you ask me!

LadyBoss

I’ve been on a bit of a “I am woman, hear me roar” kick lately. I’ve been wearing pink, a color I normally despise. I’ve been watching Call the Midwife, a BBC show about the start of nursing with an almost all female cast. But I think the thing that has made the most impact is reading books written by women only. My feisty feminist side has gained so much knowledge from these smart, sexy ladies and I wanted to share some of my favorite bits with you!

Women are such beautiful, power, inspiring creatures. I’m so lucky to be one.Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.16.30 AM

Some advice from Sophia Amoruso, the original #GIRLBOSS:

“The average American saves 6.5%of his or her income, which is barely keeping up with inflation. But you, dear #GIRLBOSS, should 10% at the bare minimum. I know it’s a lot easier to talk about saving money than it is to actually save it. Here’s a tip: Treat your savings account just like it’s another bill. It has to be paid every month, or there are consequences.”

“In business, a disproportionate amount of importance is placed on the ability to network. If you don’t thrive on going on and meeting a million people, you might end up feeling like you have less of a chance of getting ahead in your career. Also, introverts might hang back in meetings and thus not perceived as “leadership material,” even though introverted people frequently make more empathetic managers. As I’ve said before, part of the reason I started Nasty Gal was that I wanted a job where I could be myself and not have to deal with people. I wasn’t great at in-person customer service, because I can’t fake a smile to save my life, but it turned out I was really good at it electronically.”

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“From Nasty Gal’s inception, I have always viewed the business as a work in progress. I constantly tweak and move on, peeling back layers of the onion as new ones arrive. If something didn’t work- like if I put a dress up for auction and no one was bidding on it- I didn’t just assume that no one wanted it. I just tried something else.”

“A #GIRLBOSS knows where she excels and where she could use a little work, so get to know your weaknesses.”

While this wasn’t my favorite book ever, it’s definitely worth a read. I felt empowered and sexy and smart after reading it, I hope you do too!

(You can find it here or borrow it from me!)