Wednesday, July 31, 2013

27 things you may or may not know about me

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday! Instead of complaining about how old I'm getting (which I know drives anyone who is older than I am crazy), I decided to compile a list of fun facts to give you a better sense of who I am when I'm not blogging about skin cancer and sunscreen. Enjoy!

1. I've been blogging (and making online "zines") since AOL dial-up.

2. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and just started eating red meat again a year ago.

3. I interned at two magazines in NYC the summer I turned 21.

The House Beautiful intern cubicle. I remember talking this photo on my 21st
birthday because my mom had the flowers delivered to the office.

4. When I was a senior in high school, I didn't apply to college anywhere in my home state.

5. I ended up at Lehigh University where I majored in English and journalism.

College graduation in 2008.

6. I attended an all-girls, Catholic high school.

7. I love cats - lions, tigers, and the more domestic variety that you find on your lap and in YouTube videos.

8. I paint my nails about 2x per week before I go to bed. I own enough nail polish that I could probably open my own salon.

My fingertips on Sephora's nailspotting Pinterest board.

9. My favorite movie is Love Actually.

10. I learned how to drive on a 1995 Nissan Sentra and finally just upgraded last summer to a 2011 Nissan Rogue. It was the first car I've ever purchased in my own name without a co-signer.

My baby!

11. But I take public transportation to and from work every day.

12. I manage the Research Funding & Development Services program at Oregon Health & Science University. That means I help scientists find grant funding and do a lot of internal communication with faculty and other biomedical researchers. Part of my job includes editing a blog.

13. I fly several times a year and yet it is still one of the most terrifying things in the world to me.

This is how I fly.

14. I did professional theater when I was a kid. My favorite role was Lucy in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

15. I could eat cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My favorite foods include homemade macaroni and cheese and fondue.

16. Once upon a time, I knit a sweater. It look an entire year!

I knit this!

17. If I didn't have to work, I'm pretty sure I would be nocturnal.

18. I want children someday, but babies still kind of scare me.

19. I drink tea in the mornings, not coffee.

My beverage of choice.

20. I love befriending strangers, even if I know I'll never see them again.

21. My mom is my best friend in the entire world.

22. Places at the top of my travel bucket list include Egypt, Greece, and Bora Bora.

Dream vacation? Yes, please.

23. I rarely pay full price for anything.

24. I can't lie. You will know when I'm lying.

25. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who cancel at the last minute.

26. I read 33 books in 2012. If you're on Goodreads, please be my friend.

The Lovely Bones is one of my favorite books.

27. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a paleontologist.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I rented the runway

Me and Tim at my friend's wedding.

Saturday night was our first wedding of the summer. Instead of buying a new dress (or recycling an old one), I caved and finally ordered from Rent the Runway. If you're not already familiar with RTR, it's a web-based company that let's you rent designer dresses and gowns for special occasions. The rental costs are a little steep (about $70 to $200 to rent most cocktail dresses for the weekend), but it's such a fun concept. I've always wanted to try one of Herve Leger's iconic bandage dresses, but buying one would cost more than a month's rent.

Renting one for the weekend set me back about $125 (including round-trip shipping and insurance), and I feel like it was totally worth it to get to play dress up for the night. My favorite part of the website is that it features photos and reviews of each dress by real women so that you can get a better idea of what size to order and if the style would be flattering for your body type. I wish more online shopping sites offered customer photos in addition to reviews.

Anyhow, I highly recommend the service, and I can't wait to rent again!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pretty in purple

Last week, I traveled to Boston for another round of PCORI grant review. On the way home, I had a few extra hours to kill in the airport, so I took full advantage of the free WiFi and did a little online shopping. I adore this purple dress I found from Nordstrom. This shade of purple is definitely one of my go-to colors for making my skin tone pop. Here's how I would style it for a Saturday afternoon out with my girlfriends. What color can you always count on to make yourself feel pretty and confident?

Summer time
Summertime by katielise: Dress Topshop / Sandals Sam Edelman / Wallet Kate Spade / Earrings Bauble Bar / Sunglasses J. Crew / Nail polish Julep

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tsk tsk, Women's Health

Always happy to find alternatives to UV tanning in the mainstream media, I was excited to find a feature on sunless tanners in the July issue of Women's Health magazine. That was, until I actually started reading it.

The article begins by summarizing recent findings that spray-on sunless tanners may be harmful to the lungs. But don't worry. The article reassures us that we don't need to "endure a pasty existence." Call me crazy, but if tanning in general (outdoors, indoors, and now maybe in Mystic tanning booths as well) is bad for us, would it really be the end of the world to endure being pasty? Is being pasty really something that must be "endured" in the first place? My natural skin tone is obviously pretty light. Are they somehow implying that there is something wrong with me? Is it truly necessary to take the "Casper-ness out of pale skin"?

While I love a little self depreciation every now and again, it bothers me when I see fair-skinned women apologizing about how white their skin is. Articles like this one help perpetuate such behavior. Even if skin cancer wasn't an issue, I'd like to think that it's OK for me to be satisfied with my God-given skin color. I shouldn't be obliged to change it with sun exposure, DHA, or bronzing powder.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I made the "Top 10 Skin Cancer Bloggers" list!

Last week I was contacted by the folks at, an interactive social media site that connects experts and patients on issues related to health and wellness. I showed up on their radar as someone who is sparking conversations about skin cancer online. They've included me in this month's "Top 10" list, which includes two fellow melanoma awareness advocates that I highly respect and admire--Chelsea Price and Susan Hayes. To be frank, I don't know how the heck I made it onto the same list as these superstars, but I feel very flattered and thankful for the opportunity to keep spreading my message. Apparently someone is listening! :)

Read the full press release and check out all the other awesome blogs that made the cut.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hello, summer

Wine tasting in Sonoma for Liz's bachelorette.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I've been caught up in vacation mode for the past two weeks. The last weekend in June I spent in Sonoma Valley for my best friend's much-anticipated bachelorette party. We stayed in a gorgeous "chateau," tasted countless varieties of wine, and had a Real Housewives themed in-house catered dinner. Everything was over the top and fabulous.

After the mini-vacay, I had a super short work week. I spent the 4th with my boyfriend and some of our friends and had so much fun. I won't lie: I absolutely love summer. I know I can't bathe in the sun all day like I used to, but what's better than spending a hot day by the pool, sipping sangria with a handful of close friends? Nada.

To my credit, I plowed through my bottle of Neutrogena Beach Defense. Even Tim used it. Also a crowd pleaser: Neutrogena Wet Skin Spray SPF 50. I don't always trust spray on sunscreens (I've been burned too many times!), but I like how you can apply this one on damp skin.

I didn't take any photos on the 4th (whoops!), but I have plenty from the bachelorette weekend to make up for it. Here are a few of my favorites.

Liz and me.

Walking around the vineyards.

Champagne toast.

The house we rented.