Category: Women

READERS: It’s Time To Enjoy Coffee Cups Up!

Coffee Cups Up

7 Things You Should Know About Dating In America

According to a new survey, everyone is terribly confused about whether they’re on dates or just hanging out. We say dating is kind of like porn — you know it when you see it.

This finding comes from the 2014 State of Dating in America report, commissioned by JDate and ChristianMingle. A total of 2,647 respondents between the ages of 18 and 59 took a 20-minute online survey about their dating habits, expectations and turnoffs.

Here are seven things we learned from the report:

1. Everyone is confused about what constitutes a date. Sixty-nine percent of singles reported that they were at least somewhat uncertain whether an outing with someone they were interested in was a date or not. Pro tip: If you’re going out with someone you met on a dating site, it’s a date. The rest of the time, make your intentions clear.

2. The number one dating dealbreaker for both genders is poor hygiene. The top three dating dealbreakers for women surveyed were poor hygiene, unemployment, and a tie between excessive drinking habits and smoking. The top three dealbreakers for men were poor hygiene, smoking and being overweight. Unsurprisingly, no one wants their significant other to smell bad.

3. Don’t text someone to ask them out. Eighty-four percent of respondents would rather be invited on a date via phone call.

4. The most attractive thing in the opposite sex is a sense of humor, according to 24 percent of respondents, shortly followed by physical appearance (21 percent) and confidence (16 percent).

5. Your pets really affect who you date. Both men and women reported being much less likely to date someone who owned a reptile or a rodent, and one-fifth of respondents would break up with someone their pet didn’t like. No word yet on how to tell if a reptile likes you.

6. Most people want to get married between the ages of 26-30. Forty-nine percent of respondents considered this the ideal age. The next most popular age for getting married was 31-35, with 22 percent of the votes. According to the Pew Center, the average age of first marriage in the U.S. is 26.9 for women and 29.8 for men. Why not just get married when you’re ready for it, regardless of age — assuming you want to get married at all?

7. Most respondents would rather move in with someone sooner, rather than later. A full 69 percent of people surveyed thought the ideal time to shack up with a significant other was between less than six months and up to two years of dating. We advise caution — letting someone witness your shower-singing can’t be undone.

Just like with all “dating advice,” these stats should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Tailoring yourself to what other people are looking for probably won’t work out well, so we’d recommend keeping an eye out for someone who likes you as you are, reptiles and all.

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*This article was originally published on the Huffington Post.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. A lot of progress has been made but there is still a long way to go!

Understanding breast cancer

Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body.  Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.

 What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.

 What causes cancer to develop?

Cancer begins in the cells which are the basic building blocks that make up tissue. Tissue is found in the breast and other parts of the body.  Sometimes, the process of cell growth goes wrong and new cells form when the body doesn’t need them and old or damaged cells do not die as they should.  When this occurs, a build up of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth, or tumor.

Breast cancer occurs when malignant tumors develop in the breast.  These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body. When cancer cells travel to other parts of the body and begin damaging other tissues and organs, the process is called metastasis.

Facts about breast cancer in the United States

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women
  • Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year

Causes of breast cancer: How did this happen?

When you’re told that you have breast cancer, it’s natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn’t, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause.  What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA.

 Known Risk Factors

Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

What causes breast cancer growth?

There is much that we know and much that we have yet to understand. However, we do know that cancer spreads in three important ways:

  1. Damaged cells replicate, creating more damaged cells and tumor growth
  2. Our body’s hormones and chemicals can accelerate the growth of some tumors
  3. Lymph and blood vessels can carry the cancer to others areas of the body, and lymph node examination can help pinpoint the progression of the disease

Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic cancer is when cancer cells of a malignant tumor spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system, and form a secondary tumor. There are two types of breast cancer tumors: those that are non-cancerous, or ‘benign’, and those that are cancerous, which are ‘malignant’.

What do scientists actually know about the cause of breast cancer?

Cancer grows when a cell’s DNA is damaged, but why or how that DNA becomes damaged is still unknown. It could be genetic or environmental, or in most cases, a combination of the two. But most patients will never know exactly what caused their cancer. However, there are certain established risk factors that are associated with breast cancer.

Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors

  • Lack of Physical Activity:  A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk for breast cancer
  • Poor Diet:  A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase your risk for breast cancer
  • Being Overweight or Obese:  Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for breast cancer. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause
  • Drinking Alcohol:  Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for breast cancer. The more alcohol you      consume, the greater the risk
  • Radiation to the Chest:  Having radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 can increase your risk for breast cancer
  • Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT):  Taking combined hormone replacement therapy, as prescribed for      menopause, can increase your risk for breast cancer and increases the risk that the cancer will be detected at a more advanced stage

Genetic Factors

  • Gender:  Breast cancer occurs nearly 100 times more often in women than in men
  • Age:  Two out of three women with invasive cancer are diagnosed after age 55
  • Race:  Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in Caucasian women than women of other races
  • Family History and Genetic Factors:  If your mother, sister, father or child has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Your risk increases if your relative was      diagnosed before the age of 50
  • Personal Health History: If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the other breast in the future. Also, your risk increases if abnormal breast cells have been detected before
  • Menstrual and Reproductive History:  Early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after 55), having your first child at an older age, or never having given birth can also increase your risk for breast cancer
  • Certain Genome Changes: Mutations in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase your risk for breast cancer. This is determined through a genetic test, which you may consider taking if you have a family history of breast cancer.      Individuals with these gene mutations can pass the gene mutation onto their children
  • Dense Breast Tissue: Having dense breast tissue can increase your risk for breast cancer and make lumps harder to detect. Several states have passed laws requiring physicians to disclose to women if their mammogram indicates that they have dense breasts so that they are aware of this risk. Be sure to ask your physician if you have dense breasts and what the implications of having dense breasts are

Know your body so that you can:

  • Make informed decisions
  • Have a better dialogue with your doctor
  • Be aware of anything unusual

Here are some resources to help you learn more:

 

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You Have To Get Off Your Couch In Order To Meet Your Spouse

A lot of my friends are single but like me they spend a lot of time not going out. It seems like when you are in your 20’s it is fun to dress up for dates and stay out until the wee hours of the morning. But as you get older all that “going out” stuff gets old. It can be such a hassle to find a cute outfit, fix your hair, put on makeup, wobbling around in 4-inch heels only to end up alone at the bar.

So after a history of bad outings or horrible dates you just decide to stay at home. After a long work week it’s much easier to stay at home and rest up or take care of personal things like laundry, paying bills or hitting the gym. Going out seems like such a pain & more trouble than it’s worth. And when you stop going out, you stop wanting to go out.

For me, it’s gotten to the point that going out is something that I don’t really need to do every weekend. Or even every other weekend for that matter. In lieu of large crowds, expensive drinks & lame pickup lines my living room coach suddenly looks really appealing. And before I know it a whole month can pass by and I haven’t left my couch.

The question then becomes, how will you ever meet someone if you never leave your couch? It takes a lot to go out and sometimes leaving the house just doesn’t pay out. But unless I want to enjoy the rest of my weekends alone on my couch, I need to get out to meet someone.  Sometimes it really doesn’t matter where you go. You can meet a man at a bar, the club, the library, a skating rink or even at a pool hall. And not all of these places require dressing up. I’ve even hooked up with men from the gym (and you know I was not looking cute there!).

So ladies (and gentlemen), even when you don’t feel like it – get up, get dressed & get going!  Sitting on the coach is okay every now & then, but staying on the couch is not going to get you any closer to meeting your future mate.

 

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Ladies, Do You Think Dressing Cute Will Give You A Better Workout At The Gym?

From time to time, I like to write about the things I see in the gym. One of my latest pieces was “Why Waste My Deodorant? I’m Just Going To The Gym”.

But this week, I wanted to write about the women I’ve noticed at the gym & how ridiculous some of them look:

  • Wearing makeup to the gym – Why do women wear makeup at the gym knowing that they’re just going to get sweaty. I understand women who are coming from work who are already have makeup on but what about those who put it on just to go workout? There is no reason why anyone should be wearing makeup first thing on a Saturday morning at the gym. It’s actually more harmful for a woman’s skin because her pores can get clogged up. Plus, if you’re trying to attract a man at the gym he’s going to be more interested in your body than your face
  • Women who coordinate their gym clothes – If you think that matching your tennis shoes to your sports bra is going to help you lose weight, you’re lying to yourself. It’s nice to look the part but women shouldn’t waste their money on fancy workout clothes. Remember, you’re just sweating not entering a beauty pageant
  • Texting while on the treadmill – Why do I see women texting instead of running? Why is your phone even with you on the treadmill? What’s the point of bringing your phone into the gym anyway? You know you can’t focus while you’re on the phone. Unless you’re expecting some type of emergency phone call all cell phones should be left in a locker.
  • If you are bigger than a “D” cup, you need extra support for your breasts – A simple sports bra doesn’t cut it for everybody. We don’t need you distracting other people, or knocking your eye out (lol). So if this applies to you, I hope you know who you are
  • You shouldn’t time your workout based on how many TV shows you get to watch on the elliptical machine – It is nice to put in the earbuds & tune out the world but using a sitcom as a timer isn’t the best idea. You can’t get a good workout if you’re laughing while trying to run on a treadmill. Also, you can totally forget to track your progress if you get too caught up in watching a television show

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“Why I Regret Being a Stay-at-Home Mom” – Huffington Post

I don’t think women should give up their career to be stay at home mothers. I came across this article written by Lisa Endlich Heffernan, and swear that she took the words right out of my mouth!

As an African American female, there are too many women of color that have come before me to break color barriers in the workplace. And these opportunities have been around less than 50 years; who am I to reverse the progress that’s been done? I want my daughter to know what a Black women can do outside the home & my son to desire a hard working woman like his mother (that would be me!)

Not to mention it costs a lot more money to be a stay-at-home mother in the long run. Why would I want to lose income like that?  Especially in this economy? Why do I have student loans for a college degree that I won’t be using? Anyhow, I’ve never had kids but this article pretty much sums up why I wouldn’t stop working even if I did. Read the article below –

 

The most expensive decision of my life I made alone. There was no realtor, no car dealer and no travel agent when I chose to leave the paid workforce. There was just me looking at my husband, my children and the chaos that was our lives. At no point did I calculate the lifetime impact of diminished earnings and prospects. I looked at the year we were in and the following year, and I bolted.

No part of my brain sat itself down and thought, What is the price, both in this year’s dollars and my lifetime earnings, to leaving the workforce, and is it a decision that I might regret a decade or two from now? At no point did I examine the non-monetary cost that would loom just as large. At the time, it seemed forgone: We had two demanding careers, two small children and another on the way, and two adult lives hopelessly out of control. 

One day I was working on the trading floor of a London bank and the next, I was on the floor of my children’s playroom. Not once did I think, at age 33, of what the job market would look like for me a few years down the road. Therein lies my most expensive mistake.

I stayed home with my kids because I wanted to be with them. I had a job that allowed me very little time with them on weekdays and I felt our time was short. I did not stay home because I believed they needed me or that the nanny I had hired could not do a great job. 

Now, on the downslope of parenting, I have misgivings about my decision to stay home. While I don’t know any parent who regrets time spent with their kids, especially kids who have moved on to their own lives — and I include myself among them — in hindsight, my decision seems flawed. Although I am fully aware that being a SAHM was certainly a luxury, staring at an empty nest and very diminished prospects of employment, I have real remorse. 

I let down those who went before me. In some cosmic way I feel that I let down a generation of women who made it possible to dream big, even though I know the real goal of the Women’s Movement was to be able to dream anything. One summer in the 1970s, I read The Feminine Mystique while curled up on a couch in my grandparents’ home. The book spoke to me and my mother and my grandmother spoke to me, warning me not to tread the path they had taken, leaving the workforce after their children were born. But the book and my mother spoke to a young ambitious preteen, not a young mother. Betty Friedan or not, I stayed home for almost two decades raising three sons.

I used my driver’s license far more than my degrees. I got my driver’s license after a short course and a couple of lessons in 11th grade. My post-secondary education took six years of hard work and yet, for years, I used my drivers license far more than my formal education. On one level, I felt like I was shortchanging myself and those who educated, trained and believed in me by doing this.

My kids think I did nothing. They saw me cooking, cleaning, driving, volunteering and even writing, but they know what a “job” looks like and they don’t think I had one.

My world narrowed. During the years at home with my children, I made the most wonderful friends, women I hope to know all of my life. But living in the suburbs among women of shockingly similar backgrounds, interests and aspirations narrowed the scope of people with whom I interacted. In the workplace, my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it. 

I got sucked into a mountain of volunteer work.  Some of this work was deeply meaningful and some of it trivial in the extreme. Whether it is sitting on a hospital board or raising funds for a nursery school, volunteer activities involve a flurry of activity, but at the end of the day, those who are running the organization carry on and my job was over.

I worried more. Being around my children so much of the time gave me the chance to focus on them at a granular level. And I feel fairly certain that neither they nor I benefitted from the glaring light I shone upon us. Helicoptering takes time, and I had the time. If I had worked outside our home I would have still worried about them, but might have confined my concerns to more substantive matters.

I slipped into a more traditional marriage. Before our children were born and when they were young, my husband and I did the same job. We left in the morning together and came home together to stare at each other and at our small children through a blinding haze of exhaustion. In every way, my husband sees me as his equal, but in the years that I have been home, our partnership has developed a faint 1950’s whiff. He doesn’t ask me to run to the dry cleaners or fish store, but let’s be fair, they are both closed by the time he gets home.

I became outdated. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, I worked in banking on Wall Street in a technologically cutting-edge department. Just as I mastered every new computer, it would be whisked away and replaced by newer, faster models. I was au fait with software the public wouldn’t see for years and anything I didn’t understand was explained to me by MIT-trained analysts. I have kept up with technology, but not in the aggressive way I once did in my job. In my world, I often use my young adult kids as tech support and endure their snide remarks and eye-rolling, knowing deep inside that at one time, it was very different.

I lowered my sights and lost confidence. But far and away my biggest regret about my years at home was that I lowered my sights for myself as I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of. I let go of the burning ambition I once held because I didn’t feel as though I could hold it and three babies at the same time. My husband did not do this, my children did not do this, I did this. In the years that I was home, I lulled myself into thinking that I was accomplishing enough because I was. I was raising my children and as any parent who had spent a day with a child knows, that can fill all of the hours in a day. What I hadn’t realized was how my constant focus on my family would result in my aspirations for myself slipping away. And despite it being obvious, I did not focus on the inevitable obsolescence that my job as mom held.

If I could wind back the tape, have a do-over, what would I have done differently? Looking on at my grown and nearly-grown sons, I am grateful for the gift of time we had. Yet, I wish I had tried to keep a finger, a toe or a hand in the working world to ease an eventual return. I did not have a job well suited to part-time work, and work at home was technologically impossible at the time.  But, the solution required imagination, not capitulation, and with hindsight, I would have recognized that over time, my parenting and career would both ebb and flow, but neither would — nor should — ever end.

lisa endlich heffernan

 
 

                
        

 

How Much Is Still Not Enough?

So my girlfriend called me crying because the man she was dating doesn’t make enough money. I know what you’re thinking – who complains about how much money a man brings to the table unless they’re superficial? Well, when you have aspirations of being a stay at home wife & mother and you’re with someone whose finances can’t support that you’re not being superficial at all. You’re being realistic.

So how much money did this man make? I asked my friend exactly how low this man’s salary was and she told me that he only made $150,000 a year. Yes, only $150,000. At first I laughed (at my friend) for being so ridiculous. But then I really thought about it. To a lot of people, that may seem like a lot of money. And considering that the median household income in this country is around $50,000, a $150,000 salary is a lot. But is it enough?

You see my friend is a highly educated, attractive, down-to-earth woman with a career of her own. Her dream has always been to build her career but slow things down after getting married. She has wants to trade her briefcase for an apron after settling down. She has also maintained that she does not want a life where she has to “settle” or sacrifice just to be a stay-at-home mother. With that said, it is very important that she find someone who can support her current lifestyle and still have enough income to raise a family.  Not to mention that she lives in Los Angeles where the cost of living is extraordinarily high (the average house costs over $400,000 – and that is just for an small to average size home). And while $150,000 may seem like a hefty salary, once they purchase a home & have a few children, it’s really not that much money after all.

Is my friend wrong for complaining about his salary? Is she wrong for wanting to maintain the lifestyle that she has already developed for herself? Is she wrong for relying on his salary to support their future family? Or is she just wrong for questioning when that salary just isn’t enough?

After all, sometimes even a lot just isn’t enough.

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