Drink

Thinking back to our roots, we hover over the question:  Who are women and girls talking to about their personal security?  We started this blog with the intention of discussing all issues that relate to protection from harm.  That includes all things cyber security thru domestic abuse. One of the issues that seems to come up in almost every post we research, is alcohol.  In our January 2016 post we talked about alcohol’s devastating impact on weight-loss efforts and in last May’s post we offered up tips on Music Festival Safety we warned you not to over indulge in booze.  The issue of alcohol consumption comes up over and over again.  It wasn’t until we read Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston that it occurred to us that alcohol is literally a legal drug and it’s hurting our women and girls more than we realized.

In her book Drink, Ann Dowsett Johnston examines the relationship between women and high risk drinking and what she unearths is disturbing to say the least.  Dowsett Johnston candidly shares her own experience growing up with an alcoholic mother before facing alcoholism in her own adulthood all the while conducting a rather impressive career.  Through her investigation into the down-side of gender equality she sheds light on the alarming aim taken by the alcohol industry on the female consumer as well the reality of campus drinking culture and the consequences of drinking young.

Here are a few highlights from what the winner of five National Magazine Awards had to say about the intimate relationship between women and alcohol…

  • The alcohol market has become female-focused. The author identifies when we starting seeing booze labels that read: “Skinny Girl”, “Mommy Juice” and “Girls Night Out” and points out that marketers realized that 85% of purchase decisions in the $12 – $15 range were “female-driven” (page 64 – 65).
  • University accelerates drinking rather than initiating it for young people. The campus culture of binge drinking now has a female version of the beer-guzzling frat boy stereotype and she’s going one for one with boys despite her weight and more lesser ability to physically break down ethanol (page 90).
  • Ask most women and girls with a serious drinking problem why they drink and they’ll tell you this… “I drink to numb. I drink to forget. I drink not to feel. I drink not to be me” (page 107), the author digs into the role that abuse and post-traumatic stress play in drinking to numb.
  • The author seeks to understand how a woman’s past trauma can recycle if it is left untreated and how a woman can be re-traumatized while under the influence of alcohol. There is an excellent explanation of becoming trauma-informed and how that may aid in the journey to sobriety (page 223).

This book will resonate differently for different people as it reaches each end of the drinking spectrum and everything in-between… the mom who has a glass of wine (or 3) after putting the kids to bed, the weekend warrior, and, the Surgeon who drinks before operating. So, getting back to the question:  Who are women and girls talking to about their personal security?  We sure hope Ann Dowsett Johntson is named in the answer to that!

After some soulful reflection on our own drinking habits we will say this, everyone who drinks has a relationship with alcohol and no one has a “healthy” relationship with alcohol.  We highly recommend this book to all women who drink any amount of alcohol.

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Yep it’s true. Alcohol makes you fat.

It’s almost the end of January and we’re wondering how everyone’s New Year’s resolutions are going?  We noticed our evening yoga classes are jam packed with new faces and the wait time for cardio equipment at the rec center has quadrupled which indicates that many of you are still making an effort to either burn off the muffin top you grained over the holidays or you’ve remained committed to your New Year’s resolutions (Bravo).

The number of women who list weight loss as a New Year’s Resolution is staggering!   The fact that Oprah has invested in Weight Watchers should serve as a big’ol clue.  We think Oprah looks great and don’t think she needs to lose weight. She is a business woman and we know she’s seen the stats… we’re thinking she is probably hauling in huge bucks as a result of the female population’s delusions of achieving the “perfect bikini body” by counting calories.  The truth is, in order to reduce just one inch from your waist line you’ll need to do a lot more than eat pre-planned meals.  There is no replacement for physical activity.  Tried and true, the combination of a clean diet and daily exercise will eventually help you reach your body goals.

Interestingly, when it comes to the term clean diet we tend to think of opting for carrot sticks instead of buttered popcorn while we binge watch Netflix BUT, there is a whole other factor to be considered if you drink alcohol.  We noticed a fundraising campaign launched by the BC Cancer Foundation called “Lose the Booze” where folks are giving up alcohol for the month of February in the spirit of good health. This got us to thinking about all of the cons associated to the many glasses of wine we’ve guzzled over the years and we started wondering how many calories we’ve been drinking never mind those we’ve been eating.  Also, how are liquid calories negatively impacting our weight loss efforts?

Thankfully the UK website www.drink.aware.co.uk is equipped with a handy dandy seven day alcohol unit calculator to address this troubling thought.  We plugged two glasses of wine on Monday (obvi while watching The Bachelor), two pints of beer on Thursday (happy hour at the local pub) and a vodka soda on Saturday (quick drink with a friend) into this magical weekly calculator and found these drinks were the equivalent of 4 hamburgers (or 923 calories) consumed in that one week period.  Holy smokes! Did we enter that correctly? If you subscribe to the method of maintaining a specific daily caloric intake to lose weight, just a few drinks per week could completely sabotage your “clean diet” efforts and put you well over your daily calorie limit.  This is serious people. Alcohol actually can make you fat.

One in six women will develop a health related problem due to alcohol consumption so if avoiding gout and cancer isn’t enough motivation to help you lose the booze then perhaps vanity will be.  If you’re like us and you enjoy having a glass of wine at lunch with the ladies then it may be a good time to take a quick inventory of just how many hamburgers you’re drinking per week.  We’re not suggesting you cut alcohol out completely but if you are struggling to lose a few pounds this may be the missing link.  And, if this post is hitting a little closer to home than you’d like, don’t freak out.  There are a ton of resources out there to help you get your drinking in check… take the time to click a few of the links we’ve added in this post and start reading about it.  Sometimes a better understanding of your drinking behavior is the best first step.

I.G.

Related: How Alcohol Makes you Ugly 

Featured Image Credit / Copyright Attribution Under Standard License of Shutterstock

 

The Betches Book Review

It’s a new year and we’re trying on a (slightly) new perspective. After putting  Nice is Just a Place in France by The Betches on our back-burner because we didn’t feel it fit our brand, we gave it a read anyway and found that it speaks to young women in a tone that we totally get.  So, although this book does not specifically discuss safety tips or security considerations, the main premise sends a message that we agree with, not to mention it had us literally laughing out loud – which gets major points and makes it a no brainer for review!

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The main theme of the book is “how to win at basically everything”.  According to The Betches, most anything can accomplished if you simply: Don’t be easy. Don’t be Poor.  and Don’t be Ugly. If you’re ready to embrace the end of “nice girls” and learn how to look hot and unapproachable this book may be for you.  It covers all things sorority rush week, text etiquette and choosing the betchiest career path possible.

The following sentiments made our list of selected highlights:

  • Spring Break – How to avoid arrest, deportation and embarrassment. Includes a table laying out the do’s and don’ts of spring break.
  • Sexting – A slippery slope! Thank you Betches for reminding us that what you put out in cyberspace will follow you for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
  • Gold DiggingThe Betches provide a clear distinction between being with a man solely because of his money vs. having a certain standard of means for the type of man you’re willing to date.
  • And last but certainly not least, if you keep your legs closed, you can rule the world. Nuff said.

Other reviewers have suggested that this book would be good for the 16 – 24 age range but we disagree. There are too many references to drugs, alcohol and casual sex for the youngest of our readers. Our recommended age range for this book is 20 – 30 years.  We’re confident that ladies in their 20’s will understand the satirical nature and will most likely not attempt to emulate some of the more crass attitudes presented in the book. Meanwhile the content may encourage Mean Girls attitudes in less mature readers.

Overall we consider this to be a jovial, quick and easy read. We appreciated the encouragement it offers to young ladies to take control of their own lives and would recommend this book as a perfect break from study material. Carry it along on transit for short duration reads that are bound to inject a little humor into your day. Enjoy!

I.G.

Gold Bars

Marrying for Money. Really?!

We spoke to a young woman (17 yrs old) recently who told us that her parents advised her to ‘just focus on marrying rich’ when we asked her about her career aspirations.  Our chins literally hit the floor before we told her that was the worst advice we’d ever heard and here’s why…

Wealthy men know they are being targeted by gold diggers, they are raised to understand and be wary of this concept from an equally young age.  We know plenty of wealthy men who have openly joked about the ‘tire biters’ they can so easily sleep with because they have the money to attract these women like flies. Wealthy fellas can see a gold digger coming a mile away and they know exactly how to use her if they so choose.  This girl’s parents, perhaps unknowingly or uneducated, where inadvertently setting their daughter up with some seriously unhealthy ideas about money and relationships.

The idea of marrying for money isn’t new. Throughout history, marriage has been used as a system to promote the social, financial and political aspirations of many families.  However, this has become an old school way of thinking! These days, (North American) society is generally disgusted by the idea of mercenary marriages and fewer people are actually getting married at all.  Time Magazine recently reported that 25% of US Millennials will never marry.  According to that same article, the three main reasons people are staying single are:

30% haven’t found the right person

27% aren’t financially stable enough

22% not ready to settle down

We live in a world that runs on dollars and good sense. Marginalized women who are raised to believe they need a man’s money to flourish are at a much higher risk for abuse.  And, statistics show that women suffer far more economically than men do when marriages fail.  With that in mind we have some advice:

Instead of looking for either love or money, look out for security within yourself.

Start by getting your own financial shit together then go out and find a man who lives within his means, budgets, saves, invests and stays out of substantial debt.  This is the best move toward a financially secure partnership you’ll ever make.

Everyone’s idea of financial stability is relative to their individual idea of what is needed to meet their needs. You have to decide what that means to you. And, if someone is advising you to ‘marry for money’ instead of going out and making your own, take a good long look at that person’s lifestyle and consider whom you are taking that advice from.  Always be cautious of taking any advice from those who do not possess the same lifestyle and qualities you are seeking for yourself.

I.G.

P.S. Juuuuust in case there are any readers who do not know this, a gold digger is a woman (or man) whose primary interest in a relationship is material benefit.  Any woman who cares more about a man’s bank account than she does about the man fits into this category.

 

Featured Image Credit/Copyright Attribution Under Standard License of Shutterstock
Music Festival

Music Festival, Like a Pro

In case you didn’t notice, music festival season kicked off last month at Coachella down in Indio, CA and was followed closely by Canadian Music Festival in Toronto. Next up is Sasquatch in George, WA this Memorial Day weekend.  As a matter of fact, the line ups for music festivals all over North America have been announced and tickets sales are well underway!

Synonymous with party drugs like MDMA, music festivals generally attract folks who are simply looking for a good time but there is also an underbelly to these events that attracts unscrupulous drug dealers and opportunists.  So, whether you’re a music festival junkie or a first timer, there are a few things to consider before you enter the gated grounds of the increasingly popular music festival.

Festival goers need to be aware of the combination of heat, dehydration, marathon dance sessions and tainted drugs that will undoubtedly be offered up at any outdoor music festival.  With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of safety tips for doing music festival season like a pro:

  • Check the festival website for safety advisory and lists of prohibited items before you go
  • Plan your ride home before you go
  • Check the weather and pack appropriately
  • Leave your valuables at home, bring only the cash & cards you need
  • Prepare an exit strategy, have a plan for what to do in case there is an emergency
  • Set times throughout the day to check in with someone back home
  • Choose a well-lit camp site
  • Mark your tent and property with your initials and postal code
  • Get to know your camp site neighbors
  • Learn the layout of the festival grounds before you indulge at the beer garden
  • Know where the nearest security and medical stations are to your camp site
  • Stay hydrated, bring a refillable water bottle
  • Stay in groups and within your group have a festival buddy who will always have your back
  • Look out for others even if they are not your festival buddy
  • If you find yourself alone, make the festival staff and volunteers aware of your presence
  • Never go anywhere with a stranger
  • Never take drinks or drugs from strangers
  • Utilize free testing at the SafeRave, PartySafe or Ankors booth if you do decide to take drugs
  • Charge your mobile daily, most festivals have charging stations
  • Be aware of anyone who seems to be looking for vulnerable women and don’t let your friends wonder off with someone they just met
  • If you see something sketchy going on, report it
  • Support the festivals that promote safety and skip the others

We know these all sound like common sense tips BUT, we also know how quickly common sense can go out the window once you’ve entered the rush of the festival environment.  We encourage you to plan ahead, consider these tips, have fun and stay safe this music festival season!

I.G.

Spring: Tis The Season to Trench!

While scanning our twitter feed not long ago, we notice the tweet of a fashion blogger with the caption “How to Wear a Trench Coat without Looking like a Detective.” We immediately questioned why anyone would forgo looking like a detective?! Obvi, we’re a little biased. That particular fashion blog did offer some cute ideas for styling a trench but we couldn’t help but see the caption as perhaps being an unintentional oxymoron.  It was after all, detectives that made the trench coat an iconic staple in any classicist’s wardrobe.

The all-purpose trench stems from military outerwear of the early twentieth century before forming a tradition in British bespoke menswear. From the late 1930’s to the late 1950’s, the trench (paired with a fedora) was the standard outerwear for men who were neither upper-class nor lower-class. Being a no-nonsense utility garment, the trench became the natural choice for detectives as it offered a good all-weather layer with large pockets for hiding cameras and enough length to conceal the long barrel of a firearm.  In a pinch, the belt could be used to replace handcuffs and, if stuck out in the cold, the coat could be used as a blanket.  Since the late 1950’s when the style fell out of fashion, the trench has been worn by sleuths of all ages, sexes and nationalities and, has come to be associated with spies and detectives with a little help from pop culture.

Over the years, film and television wardrobe departments have iconicized the trench.  Anyone remember Dragnet or Colombo? If not, Sherlock Holmes will certainly ring a bell.  Other notable Hollywood jacketeers include:

  • Humphrey Bogart in (1942) Casablanca
  • Inspector Clouseau in (1963) The Pink Panther
  • Chow Yun-fat in John Woo’s (1986) A Better Tomorrow
  • Joe Pesci as Tommy Devito in (1990) Goodfellas
  • Cartoons favorites (1980’s) Inspector Gadget & (1990’s) Carmen Sandiego
  • Jerry Orbach in (1992-2004) Law and Order
  • Keanu Reeves in (1999) The Matrix
  • LA Police Detective Alonzo Harris in (2001) Training Day
  • Tom Welling as Clark Kent in (2001) Smallville
  • Frank Castle in (2004) The Punisher
  • Casteil in (2005) Supernatural
  • Emily Deschanel as Temperance Brennan in (2005-2014) Bones
  • Anna Torv and John Nobel as FBI Agents in (2009-2012) Fringe

Sure, the flasher made a brief attempt to gain control over the trench’s status in the 1970’s but Hollywood prevailed. The trench has remained synonymous with great detective work. And, although we think the cliché is downright sexy, we do have to bring ya’ll back down to earth and confirm that no real detective attends a homicide scene wearing a $3000 suit as seen on CSI Miami.  We can also assure you that a female detective wouldn’t be caught dead wearing three-inch heels and white slacks to a crime scene either… thank you ‘Calleigh Duquesne’ for making the profession look hot though.  In reality, IF a detective were to arrive at a crime scene wearing a trench in this day and age, they’d probably look more like Dwight Shrute from The Office than Benedict Cumberbach in Sherlock.

Never the less, our message to all you fashionistas is this:

Trench coats are cool.  Detectives are cool.  And, detectives made trench coats cool.

So, with fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn having embraced the trench back in the 1980’s, you’re all clear to don the timeless trench this season (whether you look like a detective or not).

I.G.

Featured Image Credit / Copyright Attribution Under Standard License of Shutterstock

Book Review: The Gift of Fear

An uncomfortable glance from a stranger on the bus. The new neighbor gives you an uneasy feeling. A guy from school offers unsolicited help in a deserted parking lot after class. A date who won’t take “no” for an answer…

Have you ever had a nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right about an interaction you had with someone?  How about that knot you get in your stomach every time you’re left alone in the office with that one guy? The threat of violence surrounds us every day and what I’ve just prompted you to consider is The Gift of Fear. Your gut instincts are true survival signals and they can protect you if you learn to trust them. That’s why every woman must read this book.

To say that The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is a game changer would be an understatement. Gavin de Becker is an internationally recognized authority on picking up the signs and signals of violence. Oprah calls him the USA’s leading expert on violent behavior and rightfully so, he advises governments, organizations and celebrities on predicting, preventing and dealing with violence.

The central message of The Gift of Fear is that in just about every case of seemingly ‘random’ violence, whether it be an attack by an ex-spouse or a co-worker, the violence could have been predicted hours, days, months and even years in advance, effectively shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable. As pointed out in the book, the root of the word intuition means protection, defense, and guardianship. Mr. de Becker asserts that violence is predictable and that when we learn to trust the fear instinct and interpret the signals, we are more prepared to respond correctly.

With chapters on stalking, work place violence, attacks on public figures, and domestic violence, the reader is offered insights into an expert analysis of each subject.  The book explains that people don’t just ‘snap’ and suddenly become violent. There is a process as observable, and predictable, as watching water coming to a boil. Through real life examples of target selection, manipulation, coercion and brute force, Mr. de Becker illustrates how patterns exist long before violent situations occur.

Mr. de Becker encourages women to explicitly reject any and all unwanted approaches and to avoid using phrases like “it’s just that I don’t want to be in a relationship right now,” or “you seem like a great guy but…” and instead respond with a firm “no”, no matter how socially awkward that may seem.   He addresses the problem within our culture of women who deliver clear and precise “no’s” being viewed as cold or bitchy. Mr. de Becker also explains that soft or ambiguous rejections can cause men with poor (or no) boundaries to think, “she really likes me; it’s just that she’s confused so I’ve got to prove to her that she is the one for me.” Hence escalating their pursuit. Because of this, Mr. de Becker berates the social expectation that women should respond to all communications from men in a willing and attentive manner. These social norms actually can cause prospective victims to inadvertently provide predators with precisely the information needed to evaluate and control them.

This book is a wealth of information. In addition to offering many helpful suggestions, Mr. de Becker provides the reader with knowledge about things like pre-incident indicators:

  • Forced Teaming: when a person pretends they have something in common with you and that they are in the same predicament when they actually are not. Look out for “we”, “us” and “together” type language.
  • Loan Sharking: giving unsolicited assistance and expecting favors in return.
  • Charm & Niceness: being polite and friendly in order to manipulate someone. Niceness is a decision or strategy of social interaction, it is not a character trait.
  • Too Many Details: often when a person is lying, they add excessive details to make themselves sound more credible to the victim.
  • Discounting the Word “No”: an outright refusal to accept a clear rejection.

This is seriously just the tip of the iceberg, I promise that after reading it, you’ll agree that this book has been translated into thirteen languages for very good reason! Although heavily weighted towards North American culture, the patterns of dangerous obsession and violent behavior are universal making it a worthwhile read regardless of where you live. Everyone here at Investigator Girl agrees with Mr. de Becker that:

Gaining the knowledge to predict violence is the best way of preventing and avoiding it.

It’s important to remain aware that our culture still enforces gender norms that teach women and girls to politely engage with men even when they don’t want to. Let’s help each other recognize and overcome this dilemma. If you have not read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, please do. And, please do share it with the women in your life.  Whether Mr. de Becker realized it during the writing of this book or not, this book is a huge step forward in the empowerment of women.

I.G.

The Gift of Fear is available on Amazon for around $10 CAD.