Tag Archives: female

Rule #5: Thou Shalt Know How to Protect Thyself

Women’s self-defense is something I am incredibly passionate about. Did you know that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime? That 60% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police? That 88% of sexual assault victims knew their attacker? That 15/16 rapists will never spend a day in jail?

I am passionate about this partially because I am a sexual assault survivor. Though I sometimes still have trouble convincing myself that it wasn’t my fault, I do know that things could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have some basic self-defense skills that I learned from women’s self-defense class I took a few years ago. I actually took the class somewhat by accident, because I was naive enough to think it would never happen to me. But it did. It wasn’t rainy or night like in the movies – in fact, it was a bright, sunny afternoon. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I was lucky because I knew some basic moves that, also luckily, were enough to scare off my attacker.

Defend yourself -- avoidance, anger essential elements for protection

photo via Fort Rucker

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re being assaulted, here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your knees and elbows pack the most punch in terms of force (you’re also the least likely to injure yourself if you use your elbow or knee).
  • You know that self-defense bit from Miss Congeniality? It’s not bad – Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin! The last two are especially good to aim for.
  • Make lots of noise if you can. Yell something – anything – it will get people’s attention.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings – if you’re in an unfamiliar environment, never go anywhere alone unless you’re absolutely sure it is safe (ask the locals!)
  • Trust your gut. If you feel a situation is unsafe, get out. Your instinct is always your bet.
  • If you are sexually assaulted, report it immediately. Even if they don’t catch your attacker, your report may help in the future if your attacker continues to attack other women.
Part of being the best woman you can be is knowing how to protect your awesome self. The effects of sexual assault can be devastating and long-lasting. You can’t know if it’ll happen to you or not – so the best thing you can do for yourself is be prepared. Don’t make the mistake I made and think it can’t happen to you. It can happen to anybody. So prepare yourself, and know how to protect yourself.
Here are some good resources:

Slutwalk London

photo via msmornington
Go forth and protect your amazing self.
xoxo,
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Power Monday: Linda Rodin

Today’s Power Monday EDF is…Linda Rodin!

photo by Christopher Dinerman

Why she kicks butt: This lady is a “veritable slice of fashion history,” as her ontheinside.info biography says. I couldn’t put it better myself, so I won’t.

10 things you might not know (source, except for the last three, where source is linked):

  • Linda has lived in NYC her whole life, but was introduced to fashion in Italy as a teenager.
  • She met Twiggy and Verushka on her stay in Italy.
  • She’s a stylist for all sorts of A-listers, from Revlon to Victoria’s Secret to Halle Berry to Adriana Lima.
  • She owned the first ever boutique store in Soho, which was called “The Hop Shop”.
  • Rodin has a home-developed line of eleven essential-oil-based facial moisturizers.
  • She doesn’t buy designer clothing for herself.
  • Instead of splurging on herself, Rodin donates her money to charities such as Housing Works, or to family members in need.
  • She loves the color pink.
  • She has a sparkly hatpin collection.
  • Her poodle’s name is Winky.

Have a fab evening!

xoxo,

 

 

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Power Monday: JWOWW

Yeah, you heard me right. This week’s Power Monday EDF is the Jersey Shore‘s JWOWW.

For those of you who read my first post, eyebrows may have been raised when I mentioned JWOWW’s name as an example of an EDF. But I hold my stance.

 Harper's Bazaar-Jersey Shore -JWowwphoto credit

Why she kicks butt: Jenni JWOWW Farley kicks butt in my book because of HER book. That’s right, her bookThe Rules According to JWOWW: Shore-Tested Secrets On Landing A Mint Guy, Staying Fresh To Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curb. Why did I read this book, you ask? Well, it was an accident, really and truly. A friend gave it to me as a gag gift – I’d never even seen Jersey Shore before (I now admit to watching a few of the first episodes just to get an idea of what she was like as a person and see if she was truly an EDF worthy of this blog). But it sat on my nightstand, and it was good “thoughtless reading” – that is, it wasn’t an essay on race theory, or a Dante novel. And as I read more, I realized I was actually enjoying reading it. Not because it told me anything I didn’t know (I am Queen B, after all), but because the book’s message is genuinely good. I didn’t expect this, since my made-from-a-distance first impression of the entire Jersey Shore cast was, “Yuck. Trash. Go away.” (Just being honest.) JWOWW proved me wrong, and I was humbled. In the book, JWOWW touts a message of straight-up-EDF. She encourages girls to go for what they want, to be who they want to be, to not compromise, to take care of themselves. I’m serious folks, this is a good book – go buy it. Never in my life did I think I would so hardcore endorse something created by a Jersey Shore cast member. But I am, and after seeing her on the show as a real-life person, I can also say she’s a woman I would want as my friend and that she would be hella fun to party with. I’m just sayin’.

10 things you might not know (sources: jwoww.com and her book, except where noted)

  • Jenni grew up in upstate New York.
  • She moved to NYC for college when she was 21.
  • She’s a computer geek and graphic designer by trade.
  • She started and still owns her own graphic design company, Jenni Farley Designs, Inc.
  • Her favorite places to shop include Affliction, Bebe, Cache, Guess, Armani Exchange, Le Chateau, Steve Madden, and Express.
  • She likes drinking vodka seltzers.
  • Her favorite clubs at home in Long Island are Glo, Neptune Beach Club, and Savannah Lounge.
  • She released a clothing line in 2010 but it was recalled shortly thereafter. She said it will be re-released.
  • Her upcoming business ventures include a line of bronzer, workout videos, diet supplements, and sports drinks.
  • In April of this year MTV announced that Jenni and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi are going to have their own show.
Happy Monday – go kick this week’s butt!
xoxo,

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Wishbook Wednesday

Everyone knows there’s no better way to start off the morning than with some Kanye, so to kick off this Wishbook Wednesday I give you New York Magazine’s mashup of all the “Huhs,” “Hahs,” “Hehs,” and “Henhs” from his album Watch the Throne.

Still reading? Glad I didn’t lose you. Here are some other things on my mind this week:

1) The new Bligh Skyscraper in Sydney, Australia

Glass core of new cylindrical skyscraper lit up, Bligh St, Sydney, Australia

photo via pranavbhatt

Helloooo, sexy architecture. This building commissioned by the Dexus Property Group is the greenest skyscraper in Sydney, achieving the highest possible score in Australia’s Green Star standard. The design is solar-oriented, so it creates advantageous sun and shade. It has a 28-story atrium that floods the building with natural light. There’s a patio on the 15th floor and the roof is green-planted with fresh air and views of the Sydney harbor. I want to work here!

2) These Miu Miu leather platform pumps

I can’t find a picture licensed to share, but you should go take a gander because they’re preeeeettty, if pumps are your thing. Unfortunately, these fall under my “I-would-need-to-rob-a-bank-before-I-could-afford-these” category.

3) Blue Bottle Coffee Company

Blue Bottle Coffee

photo via michelleysbelly

I’m definitely trying this place the next time I’m in San Fran. Named after the first coffeehouse in Central Europe, these organic micro-roasters “roast coffee on vintage gear, put it in compostable bags, and still get it to our customers within 48 hours.” If you’re a coffee addict and a coffee snob (see: me), this sounds ahhh-mazing.

4) Star-Trek Sugar Cookies

In honor of the 45th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek, Darla of Bakingdom.com whipped up these awesome sugar cookies. Though I must say that I’m not sure I could eat these if I ever made them. Partially because it would be an incredible feat of fantastic baking by someone who forgets to halve the salt in a halved cookie recipe. I would just want to put them on display, or something. That might raise some questions.

Happy Hump Day!

xoxo,

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Rule #3: Thou Shalt Scorn Peer Pressure

As human beings, we ladies are a social bunch of creatures. We like doing things together. Eating, shopping, going to the movies, and getting ready for a night on the town – there are lots of things in life that we would rarely dream of doing alone. But sometimes, being social gets us in trouble. We do things in groups that we normally wouldn’t do by ourselves. Think about any movie or TV show that you’ve watched recently (even last night’s GOP debate) – nestled in the script there is undoubtedly drama that’s the result of peer pressure.

But hold on a minute. If you really stop to think about it – peer pressure isn’t always bad. When we surround ourselves with good, positive, well-meaning individuals, then as a collective we will surely make good, positive, well-meaning decisions. When we seek sobriety, we seek sober company. When we seek knowledge, we seek a teacher wise in their ways. In life we consistently turn to peers who claim to (and often do) know more than we do about what we seek. Still, sometimes the best intentions can be the most misguided, and can proffer the worst results for everyone. That’s why, as an EDF, you’ve got to know how to hold your own and how to stay grounded as an individual caught up in a sea of collective moments.

Resist peer pressure. All the cool kids are doing it

photo via busyprinting

If you’re familiar with Carl Jung, you’re familiar with the idea of a collective unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is an inherited set of thoughts that is identical in all human beings. While collectivity is something many argue we cannot and should not escape, the idea that we can share moments, ideas, memories, and even a collective unconscious does not negate the fact that individuals make individual choices about how they operate in the collective setting.

I have a friend who enjoys going out and having a good time with friends once or twice a month. She might have one drink too many, and the next day she doesn’t feel so well. We all make mistakes from time to time, and I never think her a worse person (or myself a better person) for having these hungover moments. But what drives me absolutely insane is that she never owns up to why she gets into these situations. She always blames it on others. “I had to drink – everyone else was drinking. Guys kept buying me drinks, and I couldn’t say no.”

Now, I don’t yell often. But I will yell this: YOU CAN ALWAYS SAY NO!!!!!

In case you skip over words in all caps, I shall re-emphasize: You can always say no!!! Always always always. There is never a moment in your life where you have to do something because someone asks you* to do it, or because you think everyone wants or expects you to do it, or because it’s “the only thing to do”. There are always at least two choices in every situation. Which path you choose is entirely an individual decision, and the intense collective moments are the moments where it is most important to keep this in mind.

If you do make a decision that you regret the next day, or the next week, the worst thing you could possibly do is say “I had to do it.” Honey, that’s just pathetic. Don’t let other people make decisions for you. And if you do, at least own up to the fact that it’s your own decision to let other people make decisions for you. You let them do it once, or maybe even three or four times, but luckily this is not a vicious circle. As soon as you take control of your own actions, life will be much more livable.

So, next time you find yourself in the middle of a group that’s about to do – or not do – something that you know is morally wrong, or you know you will regret, take a second to stop and think. You should be able to confidently answer these three questions at any crossroads:

  1. Why should I do this?
  2. Could this cause intentional or unintentional harm to anyone or anything (including myself)?
  3. Is this what I want to do right now, or is there a wiser way to spend my time?

Memo to yourself: you are in charge of you. Let this one thought guide all your decisions, and you’ll find yourself making much better choices.

xoxo,

* except maybe if you’re still living with your parents and they ask you to take out the garbage or clean the litter box

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Power Monday: Ursula Burns

Women have been present in the business world for a while now – but we’re still working on climbing the corporate ladder (not to mention getting paid the same as our male counterparts). I’m sure every woman CEO out there has some pretty incredible stories. Ursula Burns is one of these women. As the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company (Xerox), she blazed her own trail to a place no one has gone before or since. For this and many other reasons, Ursula Burns is this week’s Power Monday EDF.
Ursula_Burns_CMO_NY08_5649

photo via michaelrubottom

Why she kicks butt: First and foremost, she’s never been afraid of being herself on her journey to the top. This year, she’s listed in Forbes as the 27th most powerful woman, a climb of epic proportions during her three-decade tenure (and she’s only 52!) at Xerox. Burns landed a job at Xerox after she was a summer intern in 1980; she joined the company full-time after earning her master’s at Columbia University. In my opinion, one of the coolest things about Ursula is that she loves what she does. Of course, that doesn’t make running a Fortune 500 company a piece of cake – but it sure as heck makes it a lot easier. I was lucky enough to see her speak at MIT Commencement this year, and I can tell you firsthand that she is an absolute inspiration.

10 things you might not know (source and source, except where otherwise noted):

  • Burns was raised by a single mom in a NYC housing project.
  • Her mother scraped together the funds to send her to Catholic school and on to college.
  • She is married and has two children.
  • Her elder son attends MIT.
  • She oversees a staff of 134,000 people (that’s the size of Warren, Michigan).
  • She serves on a number of boards, including American Express, Boston Scientific, FIRST, National Association of Manufacturers, University of Rochester, the MIT Corporation, the Rochester Business Alliance and the RUMP Group.
  • At a Fortune dinner in 2008, she said, “I’ve had many mentors, but the one that has the most impact was my mother.”
  • Along with Anne Mulcahy, Burns “saved Xerox in a historic turnaround” (source). You go, ladies!
  • The CEO baton-pass between Mulcahy and Burns was the first ever woman-to-woman CEO succession in the Fortune 500.
  • Burns has a sign in her office that reads, “Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mom proud!”
Happy Monday – go make your mammas proud!
xoxo,

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Rule #2: Thou Shalt Trust Thyself

Time for EDF Commandment Number Two: Thou Shalt Trust Thyself

Note to Self: "Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live." ~ Goethe

Time for a story. College, for me, was a 4-year train wreck. Every year I went back thinking it’d be an awesome year, and every year something(s) ended up happening that made it awful. Mono, swine flu, broken hearts, pets dying, relatives dying, fights, teachers ignorant of a thing called “your students have lives too, and sometimes their lives are hard” – you name it, it happened to me. My one source of relief, then and now, has been yoga.

At least four times a week I would sweat and move and flex out my problems on the mat. After a particularly rough day in the fall of my senior year, I high-tailed it to the studio as I had many times before, but I left the studio with a discovery: I didn’t trust myself.

I don’t know exactly what led to this revelation, but boy was it a revelation. It changed my life. It changed the way I saw everything around me. The next time I found myself in the middle of making a tough decision, or working through a fight, or dealing with loss, I stopped and asked myself, “What do I need right now?” And then I trusted that I knew what was best for me in that moment.

It’s important and necessary to ask for advice when you need it. Asking for advice shows you have humility; it shows you’re mature; it shows that you respect others’ opinions. But you have to remember that that’s exactly what advice is: opinions. And if someone’s advice doesn’t feel right to you, then no matter how much you respect that person, it’s probably not a good idea to follow their advice.

Simplicity is a tempting siren – it’s easy to do what we’re told. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Trust that you have the power to make your own decisions, that your advice to yourself is good advice, that sometimes you’re the only one who knows what you need.

As one of my yoga instructors once said,

“There are no wrong decisions. There are only decisions that lead you down different paths of life. Trust that in each moment, you are exactly where you are meant to be, doing exactly what you are meant to be doing.”

Namaste,

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