A Few of My Favorite Things: A Holiday Gift Guide

As a Jewish kid, I always felt like my holiday, Hanukkah, sucked compared to Christmas. The lights on houses, Santa, the tree! As I grew up, I realized that the season generally is just a lot of fun. I truly enjoy giving my family and friends gifts, tokens of our love and friendship. The problem with the age of discounted Amazon is that people are suddenly harder to shop for. Since Hanukkah is so early this year (Thanksgivikkah post coming soon!), my gifts are all wrapped. What does that mean for you? A fun little list of my favorite gifts. I hope it inspires you this holiday season. 

Things My Friends and Family Should Look Forward To: 

My first choice for the person who has 100 different eye shadows is a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to Birchbox. Every month for the selected subscription time, the recipient will get a monthly box filled with 4-6 premium brand samples, based on their profile. Products include makeup, hair care and styling products, jewelry, home accents, gourmet food, and fragrances. Three months $30, six months $60, one year $110, Women’s Ultimate Collection $200. 

I’ve never been in love with a lipstick before. That was until I tried ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick Trio. In a set of classic reds and coral, or neutrals with pink and nudes. This formula is rich and hydrating, and the color lasts forever. Highly recommended! Trio, Classics or Neutrals, $24.00.

We all miss Nora Ephron. Luckily, we have her books and films to cherish. We also have The Most of Nora Ephron. This hefty book is filled with her reflections on life, love, politics, her career, and even includes a screenplay. It ends with a list titled Things I Will Miss Most. Readers will laugh, cry, and fall in love with Nora Ephron all over again. $35.00

I don’t know why, but I love these Upcycled Gold Dinosaur Planters. Made by an artist in Portland, OR, these dinosaurs were once plastic toys. There is just something about them that could brighten any desk. $15 for one, $27 for two

Have kids? Then you should definitely check out this Doll World Pram. Fits dolls up to 19″ and is quite stylin’. $59.00. 

Unless you live in Florida like me, it’s cold out. That means you needs socks. What better than Superhero Socks with Built-In Cape? Answer: Nothing. $9.99. 

Opening bottles with your eyes, ears, and or other body part is so college. Get an instant upgrade with the Stout Bottle Opener. Walnut base has either 60 or 100 pounds of magnetic pull force, allowing it hold 52 or 100 bottle tops, respectively. $65 for 60lbs of magnetic force, $99.00 for 100lbs of magnetic force. 

There is always one person that has everything. My suggestion? Head to Heifer International. This wonderful non-profit allows you to buy livestock for families in the Global South. By giving animals, families can eat from their eggs, drink milk, and sell extras in their local market. Animals can also breed. Remember, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life. Full gifts begin at $20 and go upwards of $500. Price sharing for larger cost animals begin at $10. 


Contraception Emergency – Why Plan B Manufacturers are in Big Fat Trouble

After years of advocacy work, Plan B, also known as “the morning after pill” became available over the counter to women and girls throughout the United States without a prescription. With this victory still fresh in my mind, I learn today that this success is much more limiting than we ever imagined. Surprisingly, it is not because of draconian laws being introduced through state legisImagelatures. Rather, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Edinburgh, Anna Glasier, conducted a study with alarming results: Norlevo (European brand of Plan B) begins to lose efficacy in women weighing 166lbs. For women at and above 176, it is not effective in preventing fertilization.

Glasier’s research has caused Norlevo’s manufacturer, HRA Pharma, to include these finding on the package insert. However, in the United States women and girls are accessing this medication which will, for millions, have zero effect. The most popular generic medications that are available over the counter include Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, and My Way, all of which share identical chemical and dosage makeups to its European counterpart. However, these popular generic medications are not able to disclose this new, vital  information.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, generic medication manufacturers can only alter product literature if and when the brand manufacturer has done so. As of late Monday evening, the FDA reported to Mother Jones, who broke the story, that they are looking into  whether or not they will require American manufacturers of emergency contraception pills to update their labels.

While I applaud the FDA’s quick acknowledgement of the issue, adding a new weight limit does not solve the problem. In America, the majority (69%) of adults 20 and older are considered to be overweight (BMI over 25). Further, approximately half of them are further classified as obese (BMI over 30). According to our own Health and Human Services Department, 62% of women 18 and older are overweight or obese. With so much of the population outside of the indicated weight range, myself included, one must wonder what other medications the overweight majority is being prescribed, only to expect little or no effectiveness.

In looking at birth control and oral contraceptives alone, testing is not done on women whose BMI exceeds 125% of her optimum weight. We don’t know if our own birth control pills are effective. This should be a startling realization, considering that during reproductive age, 17.1% of women (15-44) are on an oral contraceptive. They represent the majority of all contraceptive users in America (27.5%). Is it skinny bias? Fat phobia? As a, shall we say, person of size, I can tell you first hand that the medical community, by and large (get it, large!) view obesity as a non-medical issue that greatly impacts health. It is about lack of self control, laziness, etc. How, then, are we as a community, supposed to look at an entire class of medications as being not for us? For me, it is a slap in the face. Was it that these studied didn’t have anyone over 125% of their optimum weight, or did those people not matter? The numbers are clear, these women exist and they are on oral contraceptives.

This isn’t a new, emerging trend. Sadly, it is a long, nuanced belief held among thousands of American-based doctors. If we as a nation are obese, our doctors and pharmaceutical companies need to make medication for all people, not those deemed to be of a socially acceptable size.